The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Michael Mills

Second Advisor

Steven McCullar

Third Advisor

Shirley Newberry

Fourth Advisor

Cindy Bork

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

RN, Interpretive, Phenomenological, Poverty, Student


The purpose of this research was to explore the lived experience of nursing students as they participated in, and reflected upon, a poverty simulation using the techniques of interpretive phenomenology. Eight registered nurses enrolled in a bachelor’s degree completion program were interviewed about their experience including the ways they made meaning of new information and whether or not it influenced their perspective on providing culturally competent patient care. The theoretical framework consisted of the constructivist learning theory and Campinha-Bacote’s Development of Cultural Competence in Healthcare theory. Data were analyzed according to van Manen’s six steps to guide phenomenological research. Three essential themes, and three subthemes, were identified. These themes were, (a) being in poverty, (b) background gap/overlap, and, (c) reflection points with the subthemes reconsideration, reaffirmation, and reframing. These themes were used to expand the description of the poverty simulation experience, provide insight into how students made meaning of new information, and assess resulting changes in the participants’ perception of culturally competent patient care. Students found the experience unsettling but described it as meaningful. Evidence of increased levels of cultural competency was noted in relationship to caring for socioeconomically vulnerable patients. Recommendations were offered to nurse educators to continue use the activity in higher education nursing programs, to incorporate resources from community service agencies, and to prepare for potential emotional reactions during the simulation and the debriefing period. Recommendations for new research areas included the use of poverty simulations with practicing healthcare personnel.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.