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Enhancing cultural competence: Trans-Atlantic experiences of European and Canadian nursing students


Liisa Koskinen, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Unit of Health Care, PL 1028, 70111 Kuopio, Finland. Email:


This paper describes the enhancement of cultural competence through trans-Atlantic rural community experiences of European and Canadian nursing students using critical incident technique (CIT) as the students' reflective writing method. The data generated from 48 students' recordings about 134 critical incidents over a 2-year project were analysed by qualitative content analysis. Five main learning categories were identified as: cross-cultural ethical issues; cultural and social differences; health-care inequalities; population health concerns; and personal and professional awareness. Four emergent cultural perspectives for the health sector that became apparent from the reflections were: health promotion realm; sensitivity to social and cultural aspects of people's lives; channels between the health sector and society; cultural language and stories of local people. CIT was successfully used to foster European and Canadian undergraduate students' cultural reflections resulting in considerations and suggestions for future endeavours to enhance cultural competence in nursing education.