Pursuing Authenticity and Visibility:

Developing a Native American Virtual Patient Simulation Scenario for Maternal Health Nursing

Francisco A. Jimenez, Ph.D.

Session Overview:
Native American communities are facing major disparities in healthcare compared to any other group in the United States. In addition to suffering higher rates of common chronic diseases and their health programs being historically underfunded, about a quarter of Native Americans also report experiencing discrimination when going to a physician or health clinic (National Congress of American Indians, 2019; National Public Radio et al., 2017). Preparing a culturally competent nursing workforce, with the ability to provide care for Native American patients to reduce health disparities and improve patient outcomes, requires nursing faculty to enhance learning experiences across the curriculum that leverage cultural competency development and foster authentic representation (Farber, 2019; Leavitt et al., 2015).

The use of simulation has proven to be an effective method to improve learners’ cultural sensitivity and cultural competence, understanding, communication, comfort, and confidence when dealing with diverse individuals (Foronda et al., 2018). Research shows that virtual patient simulations, in addition to having a positive impact on applied knowledge and skills, are a modality in which learners apply and practice their clinical reasoning abilities before interacting with real patients (Cook & Triola, 2009, Foronda et al., 2016, Kononowicz et al., 2019). In this presentation, we will illustrate how we partnered with members of a Native American tribe to develop a maternal health virtual patient simulation scenario involving a young mother who is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. The team focused on involving the community in every step of the process including character creation, name selection, concept art, narrative design, and medically relevant cultural practices. Finally, pilot testing of the scenario involved American Indian and Indigenous pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing students from a program in the Midwest that serves a large population of Native American patients to provide feedback on character authenticity and fidelity.

By the end of this presentation, the learner will:

  1. Understand the steps involved in developing a culturally appropriate Native American patient scenario 
  2. Understand the importance of community involvement in patient case development 
  3. Understand the background for selection of cultures to highlight in patient case development