Concept and Need of Multicultural Education In Nursing

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Nursing and Concept and Need of Multicultural Education

Concept and Need of Multicultural Education In Nursing

Need of Multicultural Education in Nursing, What is Multicultural Education

Need of Multicultural Education in Nursing

    More than classrooms are flipping these days. The profound changes in the nation’s demographics are creating new realities for nursing faculty. With a projection of 50% of the population being composed of minorities by 2050, academic institutions will increasingly be made up of groups of people who are disproportionately represented among the educationally underserved, and are currently underrepresented among academic high achievers throughout the educational pipeline (Pederson Clayton & Pederson Clayton, 2008). 

    Furthermore, a large body of social science research indicates that higher education is not immune from the inequities that occur in American society. 

    Most of this research focuses on the experiences and outcomes of college and university students and indicates that Latino/a, African American, and Native American students have lower rates of college enrollment and retention than white students (Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities (2008); Steele, 2010). 

    These attrition rates require faculty to design curricula and courses to meet the needs of all students and initiate support systems to ensure student success. After growing by 3.2 million between 2006 and 2011, college enrollment in the United States has declined for the past 2 years (Bauman, 2014). 

    Specific minority groups, including Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians, also experienced an increase in enrollment between 2007 and 2012, but minority enrollment did not increase in the 2012–2013 school year. Two-year institutions have been most affected by this decline, but 4-year colleges and graduate schools also have been affected (Bauman, 2014). 

    These changes are reflected in nursing schools as they attempt to recruit, enroll, and retain a student body reflective of the community in which the graduates will practice. Although the nation’s student population is becoming more diverse, the majority of full-time faculty positions continue to be filled by white men and women. 

    From 1997 through 2007, for example, the percentage of students of color enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities climbed from 25% to 30%, but the percentage of full-time faculty positions held by people of color increased only slightly—from 13% in 1997 to 17% in 2007 (Ryu, 2010). 

    Women of color, in particular, continue to be underrepresented. In 2007, women of color held only 7.5% of full-time faculty positions. Moreover, the percentage of women of color declined steadily with rising academic rank. Women of color composed 10% of instructors and lecturers, 10% of assistant professors, 7% of associate professors, and only 3% of full professors (Ryu, 2010). 

    Narratives collected by Muhs, Niemann, Gonzalez, and Harris (2012) reveal that not only the demographics but the culture of academia is distinctly white, heterosexual, and middle and upper middle class. These increases in the diversity of the population and of nursing, even while faculty remain primarily white, female Baby Boomers, have implications for creating an inclusive learning environment given that biases in academia still exist despite noble efforts for their elimination. 

    Both the Sullivan Commission (2004) report on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce and the landmark nursing report of the Institute of Medicine (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2010), The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health clearly point out the need for increasing diversity in the health care workforce. 

    The IOM recommends that the country double the number of nurses with doctorates; doing so will support more nurse leaders, promote nurse led science and discovery, and contribute to better care for patients by having more educators in place to prepare the next generation of nurses. 

    Increasing the diversity in academic programs will increase diversity in the workforce as well as prepare students for civic engagement and global understanding. Demographic data for students enrolled in nursing programs tend to mirror that of the society at large. 

   However, with the publication of position papers and policy statements calling attention to the need to increase the diversity of nursing students (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 1997, 2013; National League for Nursing, 2009), recent enrollment data (AACN, 2015) indicate that in 2014, approximately 30% of the students at each level of BSN, MSN, and doctoral (PhD/DNP) programs represent minorities, a steady increase since 2004. 

What is Multicultural Education

    Multicultural education refers to teaching practices that incorporate values, beliefs, and perspectives of students from different cultural backgrounds. Multicultural education shares the same premise of addressing student learning outcomes and success as cultural competence does in addressing health disparities. 

    Multicultural education has challenged educators and educational administrators to consider equality and inclusion for the benefit of all students. Banks (2007) outlined what he called the five dimensions of multicultural education. These dimensions include 

(1) content integration

(2) knowledge construction

(3) equity pedagogy

(4) prejudice reduction

(5) empowering school culture and social structure

    Although not developmental, these five critical components of multicultural education emphasize planning and action steps in empowering cultural groups in the classroom setting. 

   Opening the classroom to dialogue, providing opportunities for students to learn diverse perspectives (e.g., non Western perspectives), and supplying opportunities for reflection can greatly enhance students’ learning, which ultimately can support the provision of quality care. 

    Faculty must first develop cultural knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and skills, and become culturally competent themselves. Yoder (1996) suggests that when responding to student diversity, faculty move on a continuum from not having an appreciation of cultural diversity and denying that diversity influences the teaching learning process to “mainstreaming” in which faculty are culturally aware, but attribute problems to the student’s lack of awareness of the dominant culture and expect the students to conform to that culture. 

    In the next phase, “nontolerant,” educators create barriers for students, but as they move to “struggling,” educators find ways to adapt to individual student needs. In the final stage, faculty have a greater cultural awareness and value diversity. Here, faculty encourage students to maintain their cultural identity while functioning bi-culturally.

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