Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Assessing Institutional Support for Hispanic Nursing Student Retention: A Study to Evaluate the Psychometric Properties of Two Self-Assessment Inventories

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Assessing Institutional Support for Hispanic Nursing Student Retention: A Study to Evaluate the Psychometric Properties of Two Self-Assessment Inventories

Article excerpt

The National Institutes of Health lists health disparities among vulnerable populations as one of the top five priorities demanding attention in the United States (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2006). Lack of minorities in the health professions has long been associated with the increasing disparity in health among vulnerable populations (Sullivan Commission, 2004). Efforts to prepare a health care workforce that is more culturally sensitive and competent play an important role in improving health care for all but do not address the central issue of diversity of the workforce. The yearlong project of the Sullivan Commission called for commitments from institutional leaders to increase diversity in their institutions, and, more recently, the IOM (2011) identified increased diversity in the workforce as essential to meet the goals of a reformed health care system. Preparation of culturally sensitive and culturally competent professional nurses has also been identified as a priority for nurse educators (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2012; National League for Nursing, 2009a, 2009b).

The relative absence of Hispanic health care professionals and increasing concern about growing health disparities among Hispanic populations provided the impetus for the 2007 study "Missing in Texas: Hispanics in the Health Workforce." Bond and colleagues studied the views of Hispanic students in undergraduate and graduate programs (nursing and public health) as well as the views of seasoned Hispanic professional health workers on the institutional and personal barriers they experienced and their perceptions of the supports needed for persistence and program completion.

On the basis of this study, along with a review of best practices described in the literature, Bond and colleagues developed two self-assessment inventories: The Institutional Self-Assessment for Factors Supporting Hispanic Student Retention (ISA) and the Healthcare Professions Program Self- Assessment (PSA). Each is intended to serve as a mechanism by which administrators may assess their environments for potential barriers and establish benchmarks against which they can assess their progress toward diversity goals. This article reports on a study to evaluate the psychometric properties (content validity and internal consistency reliability) of both the ISA and the PSA. The approach recommended by Lynn (1986) and Polit and Beck (2006) guided the study.

BACKGROUND

Although Hispanics are the fastest growing minority population in the United States (US Census Bureau, 2011), Hispanic nurses constitute less than 5 percent of the nurse workforce (US Department of Health, 2010). To increase the percentage of nurses who are Hispanic and begin to address disparities in health care for the Hispanic population requires an understanding of best practices for recruiting, retaining, and graduating students. Rivera-Goba and Wallen (2008) argue that a major factor in a Hispanic student's choice to go to college, selection of a college, and successful completion of a program of study is the college's openness to diversity. Hispanic students succeed when there are opportunities to build caring and bicultural affiliations within the institution (Taxis, 2006). Anders, Edmonds, Monreal, and Galvan (2007) argue that success is dependent on mitigating the financial, cultural, academic, social, and environmental barriers that Hispanic students face.

Bond et al. (2007) adapted Valverde and Rodriquez's Model of Institutional Support (2002) as a rubric for understanding factors that support and/or impede Hispanic students' persistence in pursuing postsecondary education. This model describes institutional barriers and supports for program completion among Hispanic doctoral students undertaking their studies at a Hispanic-serving institution. It presents four constructs (financial support, emotional and moral support, mentorship, and technical support) and introduces the importance of academic advising. …

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