Enabling nursing students to become culturally competent – a documentary analysis of curricula in all Swedish nursing programs

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Abstract

Research has shown that majority of nurses feel that they lack relevant knowledge about immigrant's cultural backgrounds, and therefore, feel incompetent in providing these patients with good care. Last year alone, 4520 nursing students graduated from nursing schools throughout Sweden. Later on, they will meet and treat people from diverse cultural backgrounds and consequently, it is crucial that their educational training prepares them for their future work in a multiethnic society. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the nursing curricula in Sweden's nursing schools provide students with the necessary tools for becoming culturally competent. The present study was based on two main questions: (i) Do the present educational plans and courses provide nursing students with the opportunity to become culturally competent? (ii) How do the contents of the educational plans match the contents of the course plans? The study was conducted using a quantitative documentary analysis, where the authors analysed the curricula of 26 nursing schools in Sweden and then compared them to the theoretical frame of reference ‘The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services’, a model written by Campinha-Bacote. The results showed that 69% (18/26) had included the concept of culture in their educational plans, whereas 77% (20/26) had included this in their courses. In all, 15% (78) from a total of 504 curricula had included the concept of culture in some way or another. However, the analysis found that only three schools provided students with specific training on the topic. Conclusively, the results showed that nursing students were not prepared for their work in a multiethnic society and nursing education in Sweden has failed to implement existing research into the nursing curricula.

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