Exploring the World outside to Increase Cultural Competence of the Educator Within

By McMillan, Libba Reed | Journal of Cultural Diversity, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview

Exploring the World outside to Increase Cultural Competence of the Educator Within


McMillan, Libba Reed, Journal of Cultural Diversity


Abstract: As nursing educators stríve to increase cultural competence among students, it is important to consider professional development in the process. There are resources available to faculty in the form of small grants, and conference attendance/ presentation monies. The author shares experiences related to travel to the 6th National Nursing Congress "with International participation" to Cappadocia Turkey. Discussion will include practical aspects of securing monies for travel opportunities, and post journey reflections that have been integrated into improving teaching of cultural content.

Key Words: Cultural Competence, Exploring the World, Educator and Cultural Competence

Introduction

Much has been written about cultural competency in nursing education. The focus of these articles describes the cultural problems that exist in healthcare, elaborates on the challenges educators face in integrating meaningful cultural experiences into nursing curriculum, and designing instruments that measure cultural competency in students. Many university strategic plans include aspects of encouraging faculty international presence, and interdisciplinary directives to collaborate with other academic disciplines worldwide to enhance professional practice and advance understanding to solve problems in today's healthcare.

There are competencies identified as key elements considered essential for nursing graduates to provide culturally competent care. These competencies cite the importance of nursing graduates to participate in continuous cultural competence development and serve as a framework for integrating suggested content and learning experiences into existing curricula. When teaching novice nursing students, there are objectives, such as describing concepts related to culture assessing clients from their cultural perspective to plan culturally sensitive client care, and identifying guidelines for planning culturally appropriate and competent nursing interventions.

Many strategies are used to increase cultural competence among students that involve immersion into a culture and relating to patients from other cultures (Giger & Davidhizar ,2008; Spector, 2009). Bentley and Ellison (2007) describe the development and implementation of a cross-cultural, international, service learning experience in Quito, Ecuador. Other universities require students to take two diversity courses selected from a variety of study areas, such as Anthropology, Women's Studies, Economics of Poverty, and Multicultural Psychology (Sargent, Sedlak, & Martsolf, 2005).

While there is a surge of cultural competency literature directed toward student learning, there is a surprising lack of information that delves into providing practical means and resources for faculty to develop and strengthen their own professional research platforms. These variables contribute to faculty a means of achieving scholarly productivity in order to effectively impart cultural understanding to students.

Beginning the Journey Through Opportunity Seeking

From a practical perspective, one tremendous challenge that hinders faculty in pursuing international experience is securing adequate resources. Resource outlay consists of more than securing departmental or administration monetary means, but includes other valuable resources. Examples of "intangible" resources incurred by faculty members include time away from office responsibilities, jet lag loss of productivity, time drains created by lack of understanding and navigation through a foreign culture, and "hidden costs" associated with international travel. Some hidden costs include passport application fees, vaccinations, airport parking, child care assistance, and provisions for pet and home maintenance while traveling.

The Breeden Grant at Auburn University is a valuable resource that enabled me to travel to the 6th National Nursing Congress with International participation to Cappadocia Turkey. …

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