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Cech, Erin A., Anneke Metz, Tracy Babcock, and Jessi Smith. Forthcoming. “‘Caring for Our Own:’ The Role of Institutionalized Support Structures in Native American Nursing Student Success.” Journal of Nursing Education.

In this project, the authors asked 19 Native American baccalaureate nursing students to discuss their experiences with a formal institutionalized student support program called “Caring for Our Own: A Reservation/University Partnership Program.” The authors investigated the importance of different types of support structures within this program, as viewed by Native American nursing students. They distinguished between four institutionalized support structures: tangible, informational, emotional, and belonging. The authors found that students consider tangible support (such as stipends) to be comparatively less important than other types of support, particularly emotional and belonging support. Responses also revealed the importance of a fifth type of institutionalized support—motivational. The authors further discuss how these institutionalized support structures might lead to successful outcomes for Native American nursing students.


Metz, Anneke, Erin Cech, Tracy Babcock, and Jessi Smith. 2011. “The Effect of Formal and Informal Support Structures on the Motivation of Native American Students in Nursing.” Journal of Nursing Education, Vol. 50(7): 388-94.

Native Americans have traditionally been underrepresented in nursing. The authors surveyed 19 undergraduate nursing students participating in a university sponsored Native American nursing student support program and examined which social support factors influenced the students’ success. Using validated quantitative measures from social psychology, the authors found that overall perceived social support, as well as support from the university sponsored program, positively influenced Native American students’ identification with nursing, their interest in nursing, their perception of the value of nursing, and their motivation to continue pursuing nursing as a career. Conversely, perceptions of unfairness due to racial bias within the major negatively affected students’ perception of the value of nursing, as well as their motivation to pursue a nursing career.







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