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Exploring student nurses' intercultural care experiences in clinical practice

SHAO, CHUN,HUA (2023) Exploring student nurses' intercultural care experiences in clinical practice. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 21 June 2025.


This study explores how student nurses experience intercultural nursing care in their everyday clinical practice. It adopts a qualitative social constructionist approach to investigate their perceptions of and responses to positive experiences and the challenges they encountered in their nursing placements and to seek to understand intercultural competencies that are salient in facilitating effective intercultural communication.

Several key findings emerged from the study: 1) Participants socially construct their intercultural care experience in the six domains: intercultural encounters, knowledge, skills, attitudes, engagement and outcomes; and consider intercultural competence is a continual development process. 2) Even though the individual scope of intercultural care encounters (ICEs) varies, the participants all valued the opportunity to be exposed to ICEs, as these allowed them to negotiate and adjust to different cultures, values and worldviews. 3) The participants observed how cultural beliefs and behaviours affect individual patients’ interpretations or perceptions of their health condition, how they view its treatment and the efficacy of the medication. Without this essential knowledge, aside from the lack of understanding of a patient’s cultural needs, the treatment and care maybe inadequate or inappropriate, which can seriously affect patient’s outcomes. However, the data showed the gaps in this aspect of nursing education. 4) One of the biggest challenges the student nurses encountered in ICEs was linguistic barriers, since language affected not only the patients’ ability to express their needs and understand the healthcare instructions, but also had nursing implications. 5) Participants reported positive and challenging attitudes in ICEs, which affected their learning, wellbeing, and intercultural communication performance. When workplace adversity persists, some participants even considered leaving the course. It was through personal resilience, accessing support from academics and peers that they decided to stay in their chosen career. 6) The motivations to engage intercultural care were affected by internal and external factors. 7) The participants highlighted that without considering outcomes for the care recipient (patient) and care provider (the student nurse), competence in intercultural care cannot be validated.

An intercultural care competence ecological framework was developed, which provides a comprehensive view of intercultural care and highlights the dynamic nature of competence development. In these ways, this study complements existing cultural care theories.

The study offers valuable insights for researchers, educationalists, practitioners and policymakers in the areas of intercultural communication and interactions in healthcare services.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:student nurses, intercultural care, clinical practice
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 Jun 2023 16:41

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