Stigmatization and Nursing Education: an Investigation of Nursing Student Bias Related to Caring for Individuals Who Are Homeless

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University of Alabama Libraries

Individuals who are homeless have long remained an underprivileged group with varied and complex medical needs. The National Health Care for the Homeless Council describes homelessness as a temporary condition in which a person or family lives with no consistent and permanent lodging. The intent of this qualitative study was to explore how final-semester nursing students at colleges in the southeastern United States perceive the medical needs of individuals who are homeless. Jack Mezirow’s transformational learning theory and the framework integrating normative influences on stigma served as the theoretical frameworks. Eleven final-semester nursing students at one college in the southeastern United States were interviewed regarding their perspectives on patients who are homeless and how their perspectives impact the care that they will offer these patients. The data were analyzed using the constant comparative method to identify the key themes that emerged from the data. Study data shows that nursing students believe that curriculum and learning opportunities should incorporate the needs of individuals who are homeless. Being aware of the attitudes of nursing students toward individuals who are homeless, educators can help train healthcare providers to critically reflect on these attitudes so that they can enact the best practices of care for the homeless population. The results of this study suggest that nurse educators can and should create lasting social change through the development of curriculum that increases critical consciousness.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Barrier, Bias, Healthcare, Homelessness, Nursing Education, Stigma