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ERIC Number: EJ873907
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-1067-1803
A Spark for Cultural Competence in Nursing
Cordell, Barbara
Community College Journal, v75 n1 p18-21 Aug-Sep 2004
Educators in the United States generally agree that cultural education is increasingly important because of the expanding ethnic diversity in America. According to the Cable News Network (CNN), with the predicted doubling of the population in the U.S. over the next century, there will be a demographic shift as well. Whites will comprise 53 percent of the population in contrast to a current 72 percent. In 2003, Hispanics represented 12 percent of the people living in the U.S., but by 2050 they will account for 24 percent of the population. The projection for Asian and Pacific Islanders is an increase from 4.1 percent to 9.3 percent of the population. Nursing educators are particularly concerned with cultural competence for students, since nursing care is of an intimate nature and cultural beliefs affect how care and teaching are received as well as perceived. Further, minority groups are underrepresented in all of the health care professions. Increasing one's knowledge and consciousness of cultural diversity increases the ability of nurses to provide culturally competent care. Nursing students are provided many avenues for exploring cultural diversity and have multiple opportunities to develop cultural competence throughout their education. Most of their experiences with cultural differences have to do with recent immigrants or immigrant descendants who have a different culture from the student's. However, these experiences still occur within the overall culture of the United States. Panola College (Carthage, Texas) decided to find a way for students to raise consciousness about another culture through first-hand experience--to "practice" global exchange rather than just read about it. One way to raise the consciousness about other cultures is to provide opportunities for global or international travel and education. This article describes an innovative project, begun at this small community college in east Texas, which aims to provide a spark for cultural competence. Students are invited to participate in a medical mission trip to Belize conducted (each year in May) by a group of local physicians, dentists, nurses, and concerned citizens. The trip is sponsored by a non-profit organization known as Project Belize, but all participants are volunteers and must pay their own travel expenses. Medications and supplies are donated or purchased with monetary donations.
American Association of Community Colleges. One Dupont Circle NW Suite 410, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-728-0200; Fax: 202-833-2467; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belize; Texas; United States