The theme of the 16th Annual Transcultural Nursing Symposium was “Culturally Congruent Communication,” and student actors had already created and filmed several educational skits that worked perfectly for the switch to the virtual format of this year’s event.
It took teamwork to arrange this year’s Transcultural Nursing Symposium at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.
Despite cancellations of events at UH Hilo due to the coronavirus, the School of Nursing‘s 16th Annual Transcultural Nursing Symposium continued as scheduled on March 24 due to the support and flexibility of faculty and students to switch to an online format.
Symposium speakers Katharyn Daub, professor of nursing, and Randy Hirokawa, director of the UH Hilo Health Professions Student Center, along with senior nursing students Gregory Zukeran and Shantel Bolosan, quickly switched the symposium to a virtual format with access for everyone who wanted to participate.
The theme for this year’s symposium was “Culturally Congruent Communication,” with 68 students and 12 faculty attending. Attendance is required for each junior nursing student and the annual event is always open to the campus community and the public.
The UH Hilo School of Nursing is based on a philosophy of transcultural education, meaning a belief that nurses need to have a broad understanding of the various cultures that are present in the community in which they will be practicing.
“The UH Hilo School of Nursing espouses the concept that transcultural nursing is needed today more than ever because of the growing diversity that defines our local, national, and global populations,” explains Assistant Professor of Nursing Patricia Hensley in an email. “The [school’s] faculty provide many opportunities for students to explore the transcultural aspect of Hawaiʻi including events like the Annual Transcultural Nursing Symposium.”
An instructional component to the symposium (already in the works before covid response) were filmed skits depicting various cultural communication concepts. Organizers Zukeran and Bolosan collaborated with Assistant Professor of Drama Justina Mattos and her students in the performing arts program to create the video skits. The topics covered language barriers, religious barriers, and cultural blind spots. (The skits were produced before stay-at-home, social distancing, and mask directives were put in place.)
Hensley says the video skits worked perfectly in the virtual format. Symposium evaluation results showed that 89.2 percent (50) of the 56 respondents either “strongly agreed” (31) or “agreed” (19) that the videos were an effective way of delivering information on cultural communication concepts and 100 percent of the 56 respondents described at least one new fact they learned about culturally congruent communication.
Additional symposium evaluation questions included: “After attending this symposium, do you feel better prepared to serve diverse populations?” and, “After attending this symposium, do you feel better prepared to communicate in a culturally congruent manner?”
“The questions were aimed at assessing the symposium’s overarching goal which was to promote culturally congruent communication among symposium attendees, including School of Nursing students, so that they will be better prepared to serve diverse populations,” explains Hensley.
Results showed that 47 out of 56 respondents chose a “4” or “5” on a scale from 0 (not prepared at all) to 5 (extremely prepared) on both questions. Thus, 84 percent of participants indicated feeling better prepared to serve diverse populations and implement culturally congruent communication.
In addition to speakers Daub and Hirokawa, student organizers Zukeran and Bolosan, and skit director Mattos, Hensley sends out a big mahalo to arts program students Jennifer Chew, Asia Helfrich, Hazuki Horikoshi, Ayaka Kisu, Danielle Kwami, Naomi Lemieux, Autumn Miyares-Thompson, Frank Phillips, and Braden Savage, who all served as actors in the video skits.
“Without your flexibility and support, the symposium would not have been possible or such a success!” writes Hensley.
Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.