Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Hendrika Maltby

Second Advisor

Sarah Abrams


Significant health care disparities exist in the United States. Nurses can play an important role eliminating these disparities. International immersion experiences for undergraduate nursing students may provide long-lasting enhancements in cultural competency and improvements in professional practice. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study is to explore how a faculty-led international immersion experience for undergraduate nursing students in public health nursing has influenced cultural competency and how this is perceived to have impacted the individuals' current professional practice. Campinha-Bacote's (2002) Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Health Care Services served as a theoretical framework for the study. Participants were sampled based on their experiences in either Bangladesh or Uganda from 2011 to 2013 as part of an international immersion program for undergraduate nursing students. Participants were asked to provide a written response to three prompts. Analysis was guided by the method developed by Colaizzi (Polit & Beck, 2012). Seven individuals agreed to participate. The data collected was somewhat limited in terms of depth, but it did reveal the themes of positive personal and professional development as well as the self-perceived enhancement of one's cultural competency. These findings are discussed within the context of the literature reviewed. Finally, the methodology of this study is reflected upon and recommendations are made for a follow-up study. This study supports the idea that an international immersion experience for undergraduate nursing students is an overall positive experience and can benefit professional practice as well as enhance one's cultural competency. However, more research is still needed to assess specifically how professional practice is benefited and to what extent these benefits are maintained overtime.



Number of Pages

49 p.