The purpose of this presentation is to share the transformational nursing practice of Pasifika undergraduate nursing students who were engaged in clinical placement in the Cook Islands. The immersion in Pasifika culture and cultural competency led to a deeper understanding of self-identity and connection in the students’ nursing practice.
Third year Pasifika nursing students, enrolled at Manukau Institute of Technology on the Bachelor of Nursing Pacific programme, travelled to the Cook Islands for two weeks’ clinical placement. It was to better understand what Pacific people living in New Zealand meant by the term “Islands”. The students also wanted to experience nursing in a Pacific nation and compare that to nursing in New Zealand.
The result was a life changing experience for the eight Pasifika nursing students and their nursing lecturer. The experience can only enhance their nursing practice, particularly when working with Cook Islands people, Pasifika people and others. These students participated in clinical practicums that they would not have had the opportunity to engage in at the undergraduate level in New Zealand. The narratives shared of clinical practice, cultural competency and the immersion of culture has only enhanced their identity of self. The connection to their own cultures is transformational.
In order to help Pasifika students (and others) transform their nursing practice, the opportunity to immerse themselves in their culture (i.e. shared worldviews – values, beliefs and practices) deepens their knowledge and engagement with Pasifika people (and others) and enhances them clinically, culturally, and the identity of self and connection.
Key words: Transformational nursing practice; cultural immersion; cultural competency; student experiences.