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J Nurs Educ. 2001 Sep;40(6):259-69.

Working with American Indians toward educational success.

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University of North Dakota, Grand Forks 58202-9025, USA.


Past research has focused on identifying barriers that American Indian college students experience in attempting to complete programs in higher educational systems. Recommendations to reduce these barriers have not significantly decreased attrition rates or increased the completion rates of this minority group. Nationally, nursing professionals recognize the shortage of minorities in the field of nursing. Likewise, the need for American Indian health care providers is growing in direct proportion to the number of health care issues facing this population. This grounded theory study focused on the enablers that supported educational success of American Indian baccalaureate nursing graduates between the years 1986 and 1995 in a western university. Through constant comparative analysis of 18 interviews, four core variables emerged. The interactive core variables are individual American Indian student, instructor, institutions (university and college of nursing), and external influences. This article focuses on the core variable individual American Indian student and the following seven properties that support success: focuses on goal, adjusts to dominant cultural, invests in self-assessment, develops assertive skills, establishes support community, socializes into roles of student and nurse, and masters content. This central core variable and properties create a gestalt that promotes educational success. The implications are that faculty, in their roles as advisor and instructor, can assist in the development and maintenance of these seven properties. This can be achieved through proactive culturally responsive advisement, creation of a culturally relevant environment, and use of humanistic andragogical approaches to teaching-learning processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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