Teaching Strategies That Promote a Culturally Sensitive Nursing Education

Article excerpt

CULTURAL SENSITIVITY IS CHARACTERIZED BY OPENNESS TO DIVERSITY, WITH MUTUAL RESPECT AND TRUST FOR OTHERS. LIKE EDUCATORS IN OTHER FIELDS, nurse educators need to be prepared to teach in multicultural settings, providing equal learning opportunities for all students. Despite calls by the National League for Nursing (2008) to increase the diversity of the nursing workforce, many programs to teach educators do not prepare them to teach students from cultural backgrounds different from their own.

A culturally sensitive manner of teaching that respects the differences of all who choose to become nurses will improve recruitment and retention of students. As the Sullivan Commission (2004) pointed out, "Excellence in health professions education is difficult to achieve in a culturally limited environment" (p. 6). The commission stressed that "for minority students, institutional climate exerts a profound effect on the quality of the educational experience and directly influences a student's sense of comfort and security" (p. 83).

Methods using the Delphi technique, which calls on experts' opinions to answer research questions, a list was developed of best practices that promote cultural sensitivity in nursing education and nursing practice (Dewald, 2010). using a three-tiered format, 12 experts responded to questionnaires that evolved from their professional experiences. The experts were asked: "What teaching strategies or practices promote culturally sensitive learning environments for student nurses?" and "What teaching strategies or practices promote culturally sensitive nurses?"

The first tier of the study encompassed a qualitative analysis of teaching strategies and practices that the experts have found to promote cultural sensitivity in nursing education. Responses were coded and categorized and then used as items in the next two tiers of the study. The second questionnaire used a quantitative analysis of these items, which participants ranked in importance on a five-point Likert-type scale. The result was analyzed using central tendency statistics, specifically, means and standard deviations. After reading the responses and comments of the other panelists, the participants were asked to rethink their previous responses and again rank the items, this time using a three-point Likerttype scale (1 = not important, 2 = somewhat important, 3 = very important) to develop recommended best practices for educators.

Purposeful sampling was used for the selection of participants. Regional chairpersons of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing nominated individuals who demonstrated: expert knowledge and skills in the teaching of nursing; knowledge and skills in clinical nursing practice; continued professional interest; evidence of expertise in culturally sensitive nursing and the teaching of nursing through writing, teaching, and community service; and peer recognition or other forms of recognition in nursing.

Panelists were recruited from geographically diverse areas of the united States to use maximal variation sampling within a homogeneous sample. The purpose was to bring together a group of experts into a "virtual boardroom" to explore a variety of teaching methods found useful in promoting cultural sensitivity. The goal was to promote the sharing of ideas without bias and a potential imbalance of opinions.

Results The responses from Round 1 helped create a list of 91 strategies and practices. These were organized into categories identified and synthesized from the data and verified by an independent research consultant for accuracy. The Table lists categories in order of their rated importance according to the highest mean scores and standard deviations. under each listed category, related strategies and practices are also listed in order of rated importance.

Discussion The strategies and teaching practices recommended by the nursing education expert participants are grounded in practice. …