Representation of racial minority students in selected Canadian university schools of nursing

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Abstract

Several studies have suggested that the problem of inequality in educational opportunity for minority students, manifested by under-representation, prevails in American higher education. Under-representation of minority groups in schools of nursing is not an unusual problem. The dearth of information on representation of ethnic minorities in baccalaureate programmes in Canada provided the impetus for the investigators to conduct this study to: (I) explore the racial and ethnic composition of the student population in selected Canadian University Schools of Nursing; (2) determine the total number of withdrawals and graduations; and (3) establish baseline data for a follow-up study. This study was exploratory in nature.

A questionnaire was designed to elicit information on enrolment, admission, withdrawal and graduation of six ethnic minority groups in the 5 year period, 1974–1978. Out of 18 schools surveyed, nine schools responded with the requested statistical information.

Findings of this study supported findings of other research studies conducted in the United States in that the ethnic minorities were under-represented, and their academic survival rates were low. Statistics presented in this study should not be interpreted as conclusive. Many questions crucial to exploring and understanding the pattern of representation of racial and ethnic minority nursing students are still unanswered. A better designed, long-term study is needed.

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