Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Diversity Must Start Somewhere: The Experience of One College of Nursing

Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Diversity Must Start Somewhere: The Experience of One College of Nursing

Article excerpt

Abstract: The concept of diversity diversity within in its within a definition, conceptualization and connotations. Addressing issues of diversity with in a college college of nursing is necessary if the cultures of our academic units are to change and become more inclusive. The article provides an overview of how this CON began to address changing its culture to one of a more inclusive nature and across all groups represented within the college, not bound only by ethnicity and gender. The process described in this article may provide an example for others to follow.

Key Words: Actions, Beliefs, Ethnography, Diversity, Family, Pediatric nursing, Sub-Saharan Africa

Diversity. What defines it? How does an academic unit know when it has been achieved? How is it operationalized? Is it the same, or different than, cultural competency, cultural humility and cultural diversity? This one word leads an organization to ask many questions with what seem to be elusive and unclear answers. This article will describe the process by which one college of nursing (CON) in a southern university has approached and embraced the issue of diversity within its organization.


Most of the literature surrounding diversity in health professions education, focuses on how to teach students to deliver culturally competent care (Seeleman, Suurmond and Stronks, 2009; Shaya and Gbarayor, 2006; Dogra, Giordano and France, 2007). Additionally, while some literature discusses this dimension in nursing education (Carter and Xu, 2007; Haupt, 2006) the majority is related to medical education (Seeleman, et al., 2009; Dogra and Wass, 2006; Dogra, et al., 2007). The focus on teaching cultural competence in schools of medicine and nursing tends to be on how to teach it and incorporate it into an existing curriculum as well as how to engage students in delivering culturally competent care and patient education.

Hung, McClendon, Henderson, Evans, Colquitt and Saha (2007) studied student perspectives at one medical school related to racial/ethnic campus diversity and cultural competence. White students recorded lower scores related to feeling comfortable offering their perceptions on cultural issues than did non-white students. The study concluded that medical students generally value campus diversity and cultural competence, but the underrepresented minority (URM) students felt that more effort could be made to recruit and retain URM students.

Saha, Guitón, Wimmers and Wilkerson (2008) found limited existing evidence addressing the educational effects of student body racial diversity. They analyzed data from the 2003 and 2004 web-based Graduation Questionnaires administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to examine three main outcome variables: (1) self-rated cultural competence, (2) attitudes about access to care, and (3) plan to serve the underserved. White students who attended medical schools that were more racially diverse rated themselves as better prepared to care for racial and ethnic minority patients and had stronger attitudes about inadequate access to health care, than did those students attending less diverse schools. The study concluded that student body racial and ethnic diversity in United States medical schools better pre- Annette I. Peery, EdD, CNE, CDE, is an associate professor in the East Carolina University College of Nursing located in Greenville, North Carolina. Corresponding author: Dr. Annette I. Peery may be reached at: 252-7178078 or E-mail: Phil Julian, PhD, NE-BC, a clinical assistant professor, Jeanette Avery, MSN, a clinical instructor and Susan L. Henry, MLS all teach at East Carolina University.

pares students to meet the needs of a diverse population (Saha et al., 2008).

The National League for Nursing (NLN) has as its mission to "promote excellence in nursing education to build a strong and diverse nursing workforce" (NLN, 2007b). …

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