Course Title: Cultural Diversity in Health

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Cultural Diversity in Health

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013


Hamilton Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2011


Sale Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009

Course Coordinator: Dr. Mee Young Park

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6593

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 201.07.13

Course Coordinator Availability: check timetable on door

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course is organised on the premise that year three students bring with them a wealth of knowledge and skills from their coursework, clinical practice and life experience. Specifically, the course will build on your knowledge of evidence based practice about the Australian Health care system, health promotion, communication, decision making, ethico-legal issues and acute and chronic  health problems to examine the interplay of culture in order to understand current practice in a culturally responsive way.

Course Description

The central concept of transcultural nursing is culture care. Students therefore will have the opportunity to investigate and understand from nursing perspective intra-cultural and cross-cultural concepts of health-illness and meanings of culture care, care knowledge and culture care practices. This course therefore, will provide opportunities for exploration and application of transcultural nursing concepts in a multicultural and technological health care context. The application of transcultural nursing concepts carry an emphasis on using students’ own clinical practice and experience to reflect critically upon their own care practices and health care system within which they practice. Similarly, students will be given the opportunity and knowledge to examine and critically reflect on the health-illness experiences, responses and care meanings, knowledge and care practices of persons from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds within the Australian health-care context. In addition students will have the opportunity to identify and analyse transcultural nursing care processes and to incorporate these into problem solving, decision making and to culturally effective and moral nursing practice.

Key areas:

  • Foundations of Transcultural Nursing
  • Application of Transcultural Concepts in Nursing Care
  • Transcultural Health Care and the development of cultural competencies
  • Cultural safety and indigenous people

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The following course capabilities are consistant with the curriculum and ANC (2002) competency standards.

  • Provide transcultural assessments using a structured approach
  • Collect and record data regarding the health and functional status of individuals and groups
  • Analyse and interpret data
  • Develop a plan of care that addresses individual group needs
  • Provide care in accordance with a plan and nursing principles
  • Ensure that plan of care is understood and used by patient
  • Identify and meet individual needs of individuals/groups
  • Maintain documentary records that are accurate and in accordance with principles of confidentiality
  • Practice in accordance with the profession’s code of ethics
  • Act in regard to legislation and common law affecting the care of individuals
  • Perform interventions in accordance with recognised transcultural nursing standards of practice
  • Practice to ensure a safe outcome
  • Advocate for the rights of individuals/groups when these are overlooked or compromised
  • Involve individuals and others according to individual preferences as active participants in care
  • Provide for spiritual, emotional and cultural needs of individuals
  • Contribute to maintaining a safe, secure environment
  • Assess learning needs of individuals/groups
  • Provide relevant and current health care information to individual which facilitates understanding
  • Explain and support individual decision making about care
  • Establish, maintain and conclude caring, therapeutic and effective interpersonal relationships with individuals, their families and loved ones
  • Maintain dignity and integrity of individuals, families and support people
  • Share experiences with colleagues and peers related to professional issues
  • Communicate results of research to peers
  • Assess communication needs of individuals
  • Assess own knowledge base and scope of capability
  • Self evaluate own knowledge base and scope of capability
  • Self evaluate own nursing practice against professional and transcultural nursing standards
  • Apply nursing research processes to problem identification and solving
  • Participate in critical and scholarly review
  • Learn both formally and informally
  • Address environmental sustainability in critical decision making
  • Include issues of sustainability in ethical decision making
  • Examine nursing and institutional practices and propose changes to improve culturally competent and beneficial care

Upon completion of this course, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the need for transcultural nursing knowledge in contemporary society.
  2. Critically examine culture perception and culture change in a multicultural society.
  3. Examine social, political, legal and cultural processes influencing the health of indigenous, immigrant and refugee populations.
  4. Analyse the integration of knowledge, attitudes and skills needed for cultural competence in nursing practice.
  5. Apply the concepts of transcultural nursing to individuals and groups from diverse cultures in everyday practice.
  6. Develop an increased self-awareness of the power of one’s own cultural values and norms.
  7. Realise the potential of interactive processes and communication in facilitating effective transcultural physical and mental health care.
  8. Critically examine the manner in which prejudice, racism, and discrimination are manifest in nursing and health care.
  9. Examine access and equity to mainstream health care services by indigenous, immigrant and refugee people in Australia.
  10. Develop personal resourcefulness in transcultural nursing through web use, professional databases and online engagement with activities in the course.

Overview of Learning Activities

Students undertaking this course are in their third year of nursing, so many students will already have confronted practice scenarios where culture has been an important variable in care delivery. Consequently it is important for students to be given the opportunity to critically reflect on these patient situations as well as on their own cultural values in order to enhance their understandings of the power of culture in nursing care delivery. There are numerous scenarios from practice that are exemplars of good and bad practice with indigenous, linguistic and ethnically diverse patients. Students will be given opportunities to reflect on their experiences with ethnic and culturally diverse individuals from their practice experience and to challenge each others taken for granted assumptions about personal beliefs. Activities such as small group tutorials will enable students to reflect, confront and challenge each other’s belief systems in a safe environment rather than a large lecture theatre. Major course content will be taught by lecture or videoconferencing with supportive activities and resources online so that problem solving and sharing of learning is encouraged.

Because students will be integrating knowledge from a variety of courses and practice specialties, it is expected that students will actively engage in discussion, share critiques of readings and contribute to group learning in class and online. From the literature, it is clear that action doesn’t always follow knowledge. Consequently every effort needs to be made to ensure that students are “learning by doing”. This requires critical reflection, self-direction and independence in learning activities, as well as a commitment to share, listen and learn from each other’s experiences in relation to cultural care, meanings and practices. Opportunities to examine and discuss case based health –illness scenarios of indigenous and ethnic and linguistically diverse individuals across the life span will be enabled through personal and exemplary scenarios in class and online in order to facilitate understandings and application of culture care.

The discussion board online will provide an important vehicle for information exchange and shared learning that cannot be achieved by all students when the class size is large. This assessment should encourage active online engagement and group discussion. Online study is the flexible component of the course and is each student’s responsibility.

Overview of Learning Resources

Online Learning tools and content
As a student in this course you may access online learning tools and content for your course from the student portal, myRMIT.

Internet Sources:
These can be accessed through the EXTERNAL LINKS section.
Some of the following library resources, transcultural references, professional organisations and web sites are identified to assist learning.
NOTE: Specific references are provided in each of the topic areas online.

Recommended Student Resource:

Andrews, M. and Boyle, J. (2008). Transcultural Concepts in Nursing Care (5th ed) Lippincott, Philadelphia.


D’Avanzo, C. (2007). Pocket Guide to Cultural Health Assessment (4th ed.). St Louis, MO: Mosby.

Eckerman, A., Dowd, T., Chong E., Nixon, L., Gray, R., & Johnson, S. (2006). Binan Gooj (2nd ed.). Marrickville: Elsevier.

Galanti, G. (2008). Caring for Patients from Different Cultures. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania.

Giger, J., & Davidhizar, E. (2008). Transcultural Nursing: Assessment and Interventions (5th ed.). St Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Leininger. M. & McFarland, M. (2006). Culture Care Diversity and Universality (2nd ed.). London: Jones & Bartlet.

Leininger, M. (2002). Transcultural Nursing: Concepts, Theories, Research and Practices (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Munoz, C.C., & Luckmann, J. (2005). Transcultural Communication in Nursing (2nd ed.). Clifton Park NY: Thomson/Delmar Learning.

Papadopoulos, I., (Ed.). (2006). Transcultural Health and Social Care: Development of Culturally Competent Care. New York: Elsevier.

Purnell, L.D and Paulanka, B.J. (2008). Transcultural Health Care. A Culturally Competent Approach (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: F.A Davies.

Sheikh, A. & Gatrad, A. R.(Eds) (2008). Caring for Muslim Patients. New York: Radcliffe

Spector, R. (2009). Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness (7th ed) Upper Saddle River, NJ : Pearson Prentice Hall.

Srivastava, R.H. (2007). The Healthcare Professional’s Guide to Clinical Cultural Competence. Toronto: Elsevier Canada.

St Hill, P., Lipson, J., & Meleis, A. (2003). Caring for Women Cross Culturally. Philadelphia: F.A.Davis.

Willis, E., Smye, V., & Rameka, M. (2006). Advances in Indigenous Health care: Building Capacity through Cultural Safety in Australia, New Zealand and North America. Contemporary Nurse (22) 2, 142-344.

Reference Library
Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health

A selection of videos will be used

Specific Reference Journals
Journal of Cross-cultural Gerontology
Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology
Journal of Cultural Studies
Journal of Transcultural Nursing
Journal of Cultural Diversity
Journal of Multicultural Nursing and Health
Australian Journal of Rural Health

Web Sites: OR (Transcultural Nursing Society)

Education Sites (Transcultural and Multicultural Health Links) (University of Illinois at Chicago,Transcultural Nursing)

Australian Web Sites: (Australian Health Information Services-Multicultural health) (Centre for Ethnic Health)

RCNA position papers Multicultural Australia (Diversity Rx-promoting language and cultural competence)

Royal Children’s Hospital Immigrant Health Team Resources
Emergency Presentations

Outpatient Presentations

Assessment & Screening

Catch up Immunisations

Professional Organisations:
Council on Nursing and Anthropology Association
Transcultural Nursing Society
Council on Cultural Diversity of the American Nurse’s Association

Overview of Assessment

Assessment Items

  • Essay: 50%
  • Group presentation: 30%
  • Individual process diary: 20%