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Wednesday, June 18 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
POSTER.13 – Expanding Students' Understanding of Diversity: Through the Lens of Client Experience

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Health professionals provide care to individuals from many various backgrounds who have wide ranges of conditions and needs. Because it is so important to understand, even in small ways, the diversity of their clients’ worlds, one course in particular provides such an experience.

A majority of students in the second entry Baccalaureate Nursing Program at the University of Toronto have first degrees in the Sciences and many have not been exposed to ideas from feminism, critical theory, equity studies, phenomenology and social constuctionism. These theoretical approaches are briefly introduced to students in a course, Introduction to Mental Health Nursing, in the second term of their two year program that provides a pedagogical perspective through which students are helped to understand more fully the world of those with mental illness. During the course they are asked to see situations differently and to open themselves to other ways of knowing and seeing things through the experiences of their clients.

In this poster presentation, a particular pedagogical lens will be described along with a variety of classroom strategies to help students see those experiences through lenses of various social determinants of health. A theme of intersectionality which is interspersed through focused discussions throughout the course will also be discussed in relation to an assignment that students prepare to demonstrate their understanding of their client’s experience through this concept. Various ways in which students are asked to consider their own positionality and worldview as they encounter the illness experience of individuals through lenses of ethno-racial identity, sexual orientation, gender, poverty and homelessness will also be presented. Some of these include participation in clinical group conferences, viewing and working though content of videos and YouTube clips, and encountering voices of participants in research studies described in the literature.  During these activities, students have the opportunity to reflect on, and in many cases, adjust their responses to these experiences. After some initial self-confessed struggles, students often comment that they found the course opened their minds and expanded their understanding of the experience of a wider range of individuals than that with which they had begun the course; if this is indeed the case, the course has met, in part, the expectations of those who teach it.

Wednesday June 18, 2014 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
McArthur Hall

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