Journal of Professional Nursing

Barriers in Education of Indigenous Nursing Students: A Literature Review

Donna Foxall, RN, PGDip HSc, BN, Nursing Lecturer, Eastern Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Reference:  Foxall,D. (2013). Barriers in education of Indigenous nursing students: A literature review. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 29(3), 31-36.



The poor health status of indigenous people has been identified internationally as a critical issue. It is now commonly accepted that the ability to address this concern is hindered, in part, by the disproportionately low number of indigenous health professionals, including nurses. This paper reports the findings of a review of literature that aimed to identify key barriers in the education of the indigenous undergraduate nursing students in the tertiary sector, to identify strategies to overcome these, and discuss these elements within the New Zealand context. A number of health-related databases were searched and a total of 16 peer-reviewed articles from Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand were reviewed. Key barriers to recruitment and retention and strategies to overcome these are presented. Barriers to recruitment included: academic unpreparedness; poor understanding of cultural needs; and conflicting obligations, and financial constraints. Barriers to retention included lack of cultural and academic support, family obligations and financial hardship. Strategies to address recruitment barriers included: addressing pre-entry education requirements; targeted promotion of nursing programmes; indigenous role models in the recruitment process; and streamlining enrolment processes to make programmes attractive and attainable for indigenous students. Strategies to address retention barriers included: cultural relevance within the curriculum; identifying and supporting cultural needs of indigenous students with active participation of indigenous staff; engaging communities and funding support. The crucial development of partnerships between academic institutes and indigenous communities to ensure the provision of a culturally safe, supportive environment for the students was stressed.  In New Zealand, while government-level policy exists to promote the success of M?ori nursing students, the translation of that is known about the recruitment and retention of indigenous students is an area for development.

recruitment, retention, indigenous, nurse education, Maori, cultural safety

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