Curtin, Alicia

Advisor Department

Nursing, College of




Nursing; Cultural Humility; Cultural Immersion

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.


Cultural humility is necessary for all nurses in order to provide the best quality patient care. It is a life-long process of self-reflection and self-critique, which allows nurses to examine differences and similarities between their own beliefs, values, and health care goals with those of their patients (Schuessler et al., 2012). Cultural humility helps nurses to recognize potential differences in the meaning of health and wellness among their patients, and to begin to understand the many challenges to accessing quality health care. Cultural immersion programs is one educational strategy to allow nursing students to develop cultural humility through acquiring critical thinking skills, feelings of self-efficacy, and a global nursing perception (Schuessler, 2012).

A review of literature focused on nursing students' perspectives and education on providing culturally competent care was completed. In addition, discussions were conducted with nursing students after completing a two-week cultural immersion and service learning program in the Dominican Republic. The experience included students’ daily journaling and group reflection sessions. In review of the literature, field notes, and student interviews, common themes were identified. These related to the overall student experiences of cultural immersion programs, potential barriers to access quality health care, and understanding one’s beliefs and values in relation to patients living in a low resource country. Student participants identified language, low health literacy, and lack of understanding of cultural beliefs as barriers to assessing quality care. In addition student participants reported feeling more comfortable providing nursing care with patients from diverse cultural backgrounds, an increase self-awareness of their own values and beliefs, and a strong feeling of gratitude. Daily journaling and group dialogue with faculty and Dominican nurses assisted in their reflection process. The experience was shared with other nursing students and registered nurses through a presentation to explain the importance of cultural humility. Cultural humility is a lifelong reflection process that is essential to the ethics of nursing care and education.