Acculturating into nursing: the lived experiences of Hispanic/Latinx baccalaureate nursing students

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lisa K. Woodley (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Lynne Lewallen

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to describe the lived experiences of Hispanic / Latinx nursing students as they acculturate into the profession of nursing. In addition, this study sought to describe differences in experiences of Hispanic / Latinx nursing students related to gender, English and Spanish language fluency, family immigration experiences, and whether or not participants were first-generation college students. The Hispanic / Latinx population represents the most rapidly growing minority within the U.S., and health disparities for this population persist. When there is racial and ethnic concordance of health care providers with the population, improved patient outcomes occur. Currently, however, only 3.6% of practicing nurses within the U.S. self-identify as Hispanic / Latinx, attrition rates are higher for these students, and research pertaining to their experiences is extremely scarce. If nursing faculty do not understand the experiences of Hispanic / Latinx nursing students or their perspectives, it is difficult to create learning environments and evidence-based educational initiatives which foster their success. This study used a Husserlian descriptive phenomenological approach with participants who self-identified as Hispanic / Latinx and who had graduated from a baccalaureate nursing program in the Southeastern U.S. within the last six months. Eleven Hispanic / Latinx new graduates from three baccalaureate nursing programs in large, urban, public universities within feasible driving distance for the researcher participated in the study. Data collection involved private, in-depth, semi-structured, audiotaped interviews with study participants. Interview transcriptions were coded and analyzed using inductive methods. Categories uncovered as a result of inductive analysis included belongingness, edge runner, deep and meaningful relationships with the Hispanic / Latinx community, under pressure, learning environment, a journey of many steps, looking within, we are not all the same, checking the box, and facing disparities and stereotypes. Thematic analysis used the Theory of Cultural Marginality as a lens through which to study the data set. Study findings revealed that Hispanic / Latinx baccalaureate nursing students do experience a process of acculturation into nursing that is complex, multi-faceted, and similar to the process experienced by immigrants acculturating into a different country. Furthermore, results demonstrate that this process of acculturation into nursing begins before these students enter nursing school and continues after they graduate. The lived experiences of Hispanic / Latinx nursing students aligned with prominent concepts of the theory, including marginal living, cross-cultural conflict recognition; adjustment responses, and personal as well as contextual influences. Study findings refute the notion that Hispanic / Latinx nursing students should be considered as a homogenous group, which is how they have been presented in previous research. On the contrary, this study revealed that the process of acculturation into nursing for Hispanic / Latinx baccalaureate nursing students is influenced by their gender, English and Spanish language fluency, family immigration experiences, and whether or not they are a first-generation college attendee. Nurse educators should consider that given the pressures that these students experience from a variety of sources, educational strategies should be learner-centered, culturally responsive, and individualized to best facilitate their success.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Baccalaureate, Hispanic, Latinx, Nursing Students, Phenomenology
Nursing students
Hispanic American nurses $x Training of

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