Perceptions of Academic Supports for Indigenous Nursing Students

CHAU HA, Sharon Ahenakew, Margaret Campbell

Abstract


Given the education completion gap between Indigenous students and non-Indigenous students and the need for more Indigenous nurses, support for Indigenous nursing students is imperative for academic success. Indigenous nursing students face a number of barriers to success and struggle with the demands of the university setting.  Academic, financial, personal, and cultural supports may assist students to successfully adapt and overcome these barriers. Educational institutions, such as Saskatchewan Polytechnic, have recognized barriers to Indigenous student success and have put a variety of measures in place to assist students. This paper aims to examine the current literature on Indigenous nursing student perception and academic support staff perception of available supports. The literature suggests that facilitative factors such as collaborative relationships between support services, individual supports, the learning environment, financial supports, and student characteristics all play a role in the academic success of students. Stressors, health, institutional racism, and feelings of shame and self-doubt are some barriers students must overcome.  Within the larger context, students’ pre-university educational experience, the academic environment, and program characteristics impact the effectiveness of support services. Indigenous nursing students and Indigenous students from other programs share similar perceptions as to the effectiveness of support services. The perception of academic staff is that the needs of both Indigenous nursing and non-nursing students are similar. Although there is little research in the area of library services in relation to how they support Indigenous nursing student success, student perceptions of other support services are positive when students use them...


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