Diversity

Earlier today at the course “Academic teaching” (which I participate) we were discussion diversity. The learning outcome for me regarding to this topic is:

“Develop different strategies for equal treatment in the meeting with students / participants in heterogeneous groups.”

So, I´ve been thinking of how to embed this in my teaching to nursing students. The topic I teach is about how to administer and handle central venous catheters. One of the learning outcomes is that the students are expected to reflect over risks and how to avoid them.

The university I work in has a strategic platform (Strategy 2020) and Malmö University wants to base its work on four core values; diversity, creativity, quality and commitment to the community. I came up with the idea of using cases to reflect diversity.

In Sweden (were I live and work) we of course have a law for higher education (SFS 1992:1434). For instance, the students are expected to develop their ability to critical thinking and problem solving.

Lynn (1999) writes about the differences between case teaching and research cases. Lynn argues that when teachers use cases from research as an example or illustration the whole idea of case as a method fails thus the thinking has already been done and the conclusion is already made. The research case is more like a lecture where there is “a true” solution to the problem. Therefor, when using case as a method for develop skills in critical thinking the cases have to contain questions to raise. There should be no right answer and the students should be exposed to different problems, issues and choices. Lynn means that the students are supposed to come up with a solution and proposed action regarding to the present dilemma to succeed and develop their critical thinking.

When writing the cases I have to keep this in mind! I don´t want them to have only one right answer. Back to diversity. I will use name, age and gender as a base and they will all represent a diversity of people. Each case will have a picture of the “patient” and I will choose the pictures carefully so that they shows my intended diversity. I will give you one example of a case.

Muslim woman
Photo: Muslim woman by Peter Dahlgren (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Aisha, a female patient, is treated with total parenteral nutrition (TPN). She has a central venous catheters on her neck (it´s like been given “food” straight in to your blood). Aisha is wearing veil. The veil is “hiding” her central venous catheter so you can´t see the venous access or it´s connections.
-What should you, as a nurse, do?

It is very important to be able to observe the venous access and it´s connections on a daily bases. When having a ongoing infusion (TPN) it´s even more required.

I can think of some different paths to go in the discussion. The students can choose to talk about the ethic part of wearing a veil (the patients religious need vs. patients safety need). I will try to provoke the students a bit if they “chicken out” on the dilemma and I want them to give me an answer of how they think and why. I would also like them to talk about hygiene. The right answer is that the veil has to be change every day… but how will they make this happen? As I see it, they can choose different solutions to the problems.

I’m eager to try this out and I think (and hope) that we can talk to each other and have really constructive discussions of how to solve the different dilemmas. I am aware of that this is an example of how to work with diversity in teaching material. A further challenge would be to describe and have a well founded intention to work with diversity in the group of students, but that´s another blog post.

References
Lynn, L (1999). Teaching and learning with cases. A guidebook. Seven bridges press, New York.

SFS 1992:1434 (2016) Högskolelagen. Utbildningsdepartementet, Stockholm. (In Swedish)

Strategy 2020 (2016) Strategic Platform. Malmö University.

Photo: Diversity by Meena Kadri (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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