Exploration of Multicultural Student Education on Ethical Issues in an Australian Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum

Angela Dawn Sheedy1 , * Open Modal iD Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Nursing Journal 21 Feb 2024 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/0118744346277389231126185215



Australian undergraduate nursing courses and their student profiles vary greatly, and so does the class’s cultural and racial diversity. Student nurses will bring their own cultural identity, values, and opinions with them to class, both online and face-to-face. For the educator, there are many deliberations around being culturally considerate with such diverse groups, particularly when ethically centered topics can make cultural considerations challenging. This can contest both the students’ and educators’ beliefs and customs and may cause personal discomfort in some form. The purpose here is to explore the discomfort and potential issues the educator may face in delivering and managing such education forums.


This project uses an autoethnography narrative methodology with the implementation and analysis of a reflective journal and incorporates theories inclusive of the Pedagogy of Discomfort, Theory of Deontology, and Critical Resistance Pathways.


The resulting journal spanned 3 months of the educators’ reflections on cultural interactions across a multicultural public health class of 290 students and from interactions with health and academic peers. Analysis of the entries found indications that a person’s cultural norms tended to form the core basis of responses and attitudes to culturally confronting topics, different perspectives from students and academics in health can lead to discomfort on discussion of ethically confronting topics, and racism was not always rebutted or acknowledged.


Practical implications for working safely across cultures have been presented with six core areas identified for tertiary education sectors and nursing educators to consider. These areas are focused on improving the educators’ ability to address culturally conflicting situations during education delivery, navigating course/unit content, and reflecting on their own cultural beliefs and norms and those of their students and peers.

Keywords: Autoethnography, Multicultural, Educators, Ethics, Nursing students, Tertiary health education sector.
Fulltext HTML PDF ePub