Catching the Spirit of Cultural Care: A Midwifery Exemplar


  • D. Elizabeth Jesse CNM, PhD,

  • Mary K. Kirkpatrick EdD, RN

D. Elizabeth Jesse, CNM, PhD, Professor, Graduate Nursing Science, East Carolina University College of Nursing, 3160 Health Sciences Building, Greenville, NC 27858-4353. E-mail:


Midwives provide an integral part of health care in underserved, rural areas of the United States. To meet the health care needs of people from diverse cultures, they need to learn culturally competent care. This article describes efforts by a university and its college of nursing to adapt to a changing cultural climate and prepare faculty and students to become culturally competent in practice encounters with diverse populations. Culturally competent care is infused in the midwifery curriculum through self-directed inquiry and discovery approaches. Outcomes of these approaches are evident in the nurse-midwifery program, which can serve as a model for integration of culturally competent care throughout the nursing curriculum.