By Wendy Osher
Nursing students on Maui, Kaua‘i and O‘ahu celebrated the start of a new course focused on cultural competency, and its impact on the health of patients.
“It’s very important to understand the cultural aspect of health management,” said Dr. Joyce Vogler, a faculty member from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene who developed the course.
“We want to teach our nurses and allied health care providers to interact appropriately with not only Native Hawaiians, but also Pacific Islanders and Asians when they are caring for these people,” Vogler said. “That includes giving students information so that when they go into the community, they become culturally sensitive to issues that might be causing detrimental health behaviors, or homelessness, or other situations.”
The course follows up on research and interviews Vogler did with Native Hawaiian patients in which she found many were disillusioned with a lack of cultural sensitivity demonstrated by their providers.
The class also incorporates the writings and teachings of Native Hawaiian physicians including: Dr. S. Kalani Brady and Dr. DeeAnn Carpenter; Dr. J. Keawe Kaholokula, PhD, chair of JABSOM’s DNHH; and Dr. Noreen Mokuau, PhD, dean of the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work.
Students celebrated the start of the program last night with a ceremonial oli (chant), and eating from a communal poi bowl.
Students participating in the new course are seniors from the UH Mānoa Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program, and the closest to beginning their careers serving the public.
University officials say the UH nursing program on Maui has a shared curriculum, so that students may graduate with their associate degree and continue into a four-year nursing degree without having to relocate to O‘ahu for upper level courses.
***Supporting information courtesy the University of Hawai’i.