The acculturation of selected Filipino nurses to nursing practice in the United States

Naty Lopez, University of Pennsylvania


This study was conducted to describe the process of acculturation that Filipino nurses go through in their practice in the United States. A sample of 78 nurses presently working in three cities in the northeast with median age of 26.6 years, predominantly with BSN degree, and two years work experience in the Philippines took part in the study. More than half of the sample were recruited by hospitals on work visas. A triangulation of qualitative and quantitative methods including in-depth interviews, observation, collaborative inquiry, and survey questionnaire, were used to obtain a description of problems, coping methods, and changes in the nursing practice of the nurses. Most common problems related to initial deficiency in technical skills needed to function in a technologically advanced health care system; difficulties in communication because of unfamiliarity with American expressions and slang; supervision of nurses aides, and passing the nursing licensure exam. The nurses also experience conflict between being submissive and being assertive regarding patient assignments and patient load. Age, number of years in the U.S. and visa status were found to have significant negative correlation at the.05 significance level with problem scores. Social support networks, religious means and diversionary activities are among the most common methods used to cope with problems. Improvement in technical skills is a predominant change, and proficiency in American English is a slower but equally important change that enable the nurses to function in American nursing. The nurses retain a traditional subculture of nursing especially with expressive roles, but they become comparable with American nurses with regard to instrumental roles. There is no significant relationship between nursing education, age, and place of origin with nursing subculture. Implications for orientation of foreign nurse recruits in the U.S., particularly the use of nurse preceptors, and the integration of cultural issues in orientation programs are discussed. Inclusion of a cross-cultural dimension in nursing curriculum to prepare nurses to work in cultures other than their own is also recommended.

Subject Area

Nursing|Bilingual education|Multicultural education

Recommended Citation

Lopez, Naty, "The acculturation of selected Filipino nurses to nursing practice in the United States" (1990). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9112602.