Janet R. Katz, RN, PhD
"I Don't Know If I Can Make It": Native American Students Considering College and Career
Janet R. Katz, RN, PhD
Gail Oneal, RN, PhD
Robbie Paul, PhD

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Use this DOI link to download article: http://dx.doi.org/10.9730/ojccnh.org/v1n4a2

Abstract: Nursing, as other health professions, needs to increase the diversity of its work-force to reflect the growing diversity of the U.S. and to improve health disparities. The purpose of this study was to identify culturally relevant factors affecting young Native American high school students’ intention and ability to attend college and pursue a career in nursing. The objective was to gain deeper knowledge about students’ perceptions about college and nursing to contribute to the scant literature on recruiting and retaining Native American students in nursing. A qualitative interpretive descriptive methodology based on Native American educational and nursing theory was used. Data collection included open-ended interviews with 21 high school students attending a summer residency institute for high school students interested in college and nursing. Three themes related directly to the research questions revealed that participants expected to go to college, needed emotional and financial support, and were uncertain about nursing as a career. Three additional themes emerged from participants’ discussion of their families and included racism. Native American and other minority students with high drop out rates, low college attendance and completion rates, who wish to enter health careers not only need improved preparation for college, assistance with finances, cultural support, but frequent family contact and support, reliable and stable family situations, and role models and mentors.

Keywords: Culture, Native American, recruitment and retention, workforce, diversity in nursing

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