Nurse educators must prepare students to care for a diverse population. Web-conferencing across diverse groups is one teaching method that may assist students to develop intercultural skills. Mixed-methods research was used to examine web-conferencing’s influence on cultural competence and transcultural self-efficacy of American undergraduate nursing students.
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the National League for Nursing address importance of cultural competence in nursing, underscored by the disparity between nursing and US population: majority (83.2% nurses, 63% US population), minority (16.8% nurses, 37% US population).
Current strategies to increase cultural competence of students include theory dissemination, study abroad, service learning, distance education, and simulation. Study abroad, the higher education platinum standard, is costly, and not feasible for all institutions/students. Merely 1.4 percent of US students study abroad. Thus, new experiential learning tools should be explored.
Video and/or web-conferencing is used by disciplines world-wide to bridge distance and assist multicultural communication through live voice/video, and engage more students interculturally without the typical constraints of geography and resources, both human and financial. Technology is utilized for mutual scaffolding and social
construction of knowledge. Content and culture are learned together with international peers.
Freshman nursing students in a required general education course were recruited (n=33). Study participants were randomly assigned to a treatment group (n=18) or a control group (n=15). A student cohort from a University in Dublin, Ireland participated in the web-conferences but did not participate in this research.
Students in the treatment/web-conferencing group participated in two web-conferences, covering topics presented in traditional lecture format with the control group. Thirteen students from web-conferencing group participated in one of four qualitative focus group interviews. Two Likert-style survey instruments measuring cultural competence and transcultural self-efficacy were administered pre –post. Data were analyzed with SPSS - ANOVA.
Cultural competence post scores revealed a nine percent rise for the treatment group and no change for the control group. Web-conferencing did not influence transcultural self-efficacy. Focus group qualitative data triangulated survey findings. Categories of data themes for qualitative research questions included: cultural awareness, impact of pedagogy, and development of cultural competence.
Web-conferencing with diverse peers may help to increase cultural competence of nursing students. Strategic placement throughout grade levels and curricula may increase cumulative impact of this experiential learning pedagogy.