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The journey of Latinas in undergraduate schools of nursing: Roadblocks and bridges

Migdalia V Rivera Goba, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Hispanics continue to be the fastest growing minority population in the United States. The most recent U.S. Census Bureau (2000) indicates that Hispanics comprise 35 million, or 12.5%, of the total population, up from 9.0% in 1990. Despite the significant increase in the Hispanic population, the number of Hispanic nurses does not reflect this increase. As the number of Hispanics continues to grow, there will be an increasing demand for culturally competent health care providers and healthcare services. The primary purpose of this qualitative, in-depth phenomenological study was to understand the experiences of Latina nursing students in the United States in order to identify conditions that affect their educational experiences. Using an in-depth phenomenology approach, seventeen Latina nursing students and recently graduated nurses in Massachusetts and Connecticut were interviewed between 1999–2000. Participation in the study required that the participants self identify as Latina/Hispanic and be enrolled in an undergraduate nursing program. Data were obtained through three separate interviews, each with a different focus and each lasting ninety minutes. The interviews were conducted approximately a week apart. The first interview focused on collecting historical and biographical data. The second interview focused on what was currently happening in the interviewee's life as a nursing student or recent graduate. The third interview explored on the meaning of the two previous interviews. Data was analyzed by crafting participant profiles and identifying thematic connections. A journey metaphor is being used to describe each participant's experiences. Along this journey, the themes are discussed as roadblocks and bridges, the obstacles and supports, experienced by the student nurse/nurses. The roadblocks or obstacles are marginalization and socioeconomic status. The bridges or supports are family, mentors, and perseverance. The participants' experiences provide important insights that may benefit schools of nursing and other disciplines concerned with nursing education. Recommendations in three major areas are being made as a result of this study. These focus on K–12 education, nursing education, and future research. By presenting the recent educational experiences of Latina nursing students, this study has implications for future curriculum development and multicultural education within the nursing profession.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Higher education|Nursing

Recommended Citation

Rivera Goba, Migdalia V, "The journey of Latinas in undergraduate schools of nursing: Roadblocks and bridges" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3110548.