Pathography in the Nursing Classroom Nurse educators and their colleagues in medicine have long employed fictional and autobiographical literature to teach the human aspects of clinical practice (5).
An important narrative genre for nursing education is pathography or illness narrative (7, 1418).
More Than a Case The pathography used in this pilot, titled "More Than a Case," was written by co-author TMT about a case that he managed when he was a social worker in New York working for a child welfare agency (22).
Class Activities and Assignments The nurse faculty, DS and ITC, piloted the pathography in Perspectives of Nursing (an introductory nursing course) and the Science and Art of Nursing II--Management and Leadership (the capstone practical nursing course), respectively.
While individual questions varied in focus, their overall purpose was to develop cultural competence by challenging students to read the pathography closely and apply nursing concepts to an analysis of transcultural issues delineated in the text.
Student Learning To assess the effectiveness of the pathography in developing students' cultural competence as an ongoing process, the authors observed and analyzed not only students' oral and written responses to the assignments, but also their behaviors.
The pathography was a powerful text that touched the students and motivated them to think about diversity, health care disparities, and their roles as nurses.
Informal face-to-face and email discussions of the pathography continued among students and between faculty and students.
Based on the details of the pathography, they examined reasons for the mother's behavior and the service provider's negligence.
Reflections The use of the pathography proved effective in developing students' culturally competent selves.
Despite the challenges, DS and ITC concluded that the use of the pathography was more effective than their old lessons in developing nursing students' culturally competent selves as an ongoing process.