Nursing Module Raises Cultural Awareness
Directed by: Dr. Dympna Casey
Because diversity education begins in the classroom and extends to the communities, Dr. Dympna Casey, a Lecturer with the Centre for Nursing & Midwifery Studies at NUI Galway, has implemented a service learning module into the course entitled ‘International Nursing; Nursing in the Developed and Developing Worlds.’ With the sponsorship of CELT and the support of the Community Knowledge Initiative, this module has proved to be an invaluable resource for students.
Dr. Casey’s course is a three to six week placement in Ireland or abroad in which students implement their theoretical study into actual practice within the healthcare system. An optional course during semester two of year two, students learn how to confront reality, become aware, make a difference, care for people in different cultures and develop personally.
"The key thing is to help the students develop professionally, make them more independent and give them more confidence in their nursing skills than when they went away," Dr. Casey said. "Most come back with this experience for the first time in their life and that changes the way they approach people here in Ireland, which is invaluable."
According to Dr. Casey, this experience is vital to teaching nursing students to be more aware of global issues, including cultural awareness and sensitivity. It opens their eyes and broadens their minds to issues that may arise with patients that are of a different ethnicity as well as an understanding of colleagues and co-workers from different ethnicities.
In order to foster this process and incorporate civic engagement into the learning of nursing students, the Centre for Nursing & Midwifery is now setting up links with Ranchhod Hospice in Kabwe, Zambia. Ranchhod Hospice is an 18 bed AIDS hospice that supports three farming villages within a 25km radius. Dr. Casey is now working with Ranchhod Hospice to discuss ways of building the capacity for sending nurses from Ireland over there in order to learn nursing from a more culturally aware point. Additionally, discussions are taking place with the Hospital of Kenya and Chernobyl to foster this relationship.
The variety of settings in which nurses practice and the diversity of the patients in their care has made this module beneficial and constructive for nurses that hope to have a wide range of skills from an international context when graduating. Learning cultural awareness allows students to see the ‘big’ picture and improves the quality of care and health outcomes while developing an awareness of cultural diversity and fostering social awareness in community engagement.
Written by: Christina McDonald Legg
Students' Community Experience Change Nursing Global Awareness
The three girls travelled via New York to the destitute Cayo district in Belize. According to Aoife, the initial emotion was one of shock.
"It was like being in a movie. We had to take a bus from the airport and it was roasting out and we had these big bags," Aoife laughs. "We were just wondering where the chickens on the bus were."