By: Angela Potts, A.C.E. at URI Instructor, Special Correspondent to the A.C.E. Blog
On April 1st, A.C.E. at URI collaborated with the URI first-year nursing students for their second annual Cultural Assessment Activity. The Cultural Assessment Activity is meant to help URI nursing students gain a better understanding of different cultures so that they can better help and understand international patients in the field. Sherry Krupka, A.C.E. instructor, and Nancy Doyle-Moss, Assistant Clinical Professor in the College of Nursing, took the lead in organizing the event after experiencing positive results the year before. In all, there were 82 student participants. Nursing students split up into pods of 2-3 interviewing 1 A.C.E. student asking them a wide-range of questions including, “What do people in your country typically eat?” to “What type of health care is available?”
During the event, A.C.E. instructors were pleased by our students’ ability to share information about their culture, which helped to break stereotypes about their respective cultures. In one instance, in responding to the question about their food, an A.C.E. student said there are different foods eaten in different regions of her home country. In another instance about gender roles, a female student from Saudi Arabia indicated that in her particular family, the gender roles were not strictly delineated as her husband frequently cared for their children. This clearly surprised the URI nursing student and provided an opportunity for a broader perspective on the Saudi culture.
Following the event, participants completed surveys that inquired about positive takeaways. Numerous A.C.E. students reported that they enjoyed meeting students from outside of their English learning classroom environment and sharing their backgrounds. Students also stated it was helpful to practice their conversational English with URI students. Nursing students mentioned the benefit of practicing therapeutic communication techniques with nonnative English speakers in unscripted, face-to-face interviews. During the event, it was noted by Nancy Doyle-Moss that this was the first non-scripted interview with non-native speakers for these students. The URI students were surprised to discover the importance of non-verbal communication, rephrasing and circumlocution, and utilizing technology for visuals/translation helpful in breaking through moments of misunderstanding. One A.C.E. student commented that this should be a weekly event.
For more information on how A.C.E. students are becoming a part of URI campus life, please visit our webpage: www.cultural.org/esl/uri.php