Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

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The simulation method for learning cultural awareness in nursing

Liisa Koskinen RN, Pirkko Abdelhamid RN, Heikki Likitalo

The aim of this study was to describe Finnish nursing and dental hygienist students’ experienceswhile playing the culture simulation games Barnga and BaFa BaFa, and thus to obtain knowledge aboutthe usefulness of the simulation method for increasing the students’ cultural awareness. The data werecollected using a semi-structured questionnaire from undergraduate students (n = 103) and analysedwith the SPSS software programme. The study found that Barnga and BaFa BaFa increased students’cultural awareness by giving them insights into different cultures, by changing their thinking aboutnew cultures, by enabling them to identify with another culture, by confirming their self-awareness,and by providing them with new personal insights. The games evoked a variety of emotions in theplayers, such as suspicion, confusion, success and feeling in control, and enabled debriefing of personalcultural prejudices. The two games were equally preferred by the students and provided them withprofessional, intercultural and educational benefits. The findings indicate that Barnga and BaFa BaFa arepowerful methods to learn cultural awareness in nursing. Most probably those students who haveprevious cross-cultural experience benefit more fromthe games than those who have not. However,the long-term effects of the games call for further research.