Empowered by Cultural Identity and Catalyzed by Resilience: A Path to Support American Indian Nursing Student Success

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Since the early 1990s, the Institute of Medicine has identified the need to increase the number of ethnic minority nurses to improve access to care and eliminate health disparities in these populations (Institute of Medicine, 1994, 2011). American Indians (AI) and Alaska Natives endure the highest rates of poverty, depression, addiction, suicide, domestic violence, and diabetes in the United States (Sarche & Spicer, 2008). With the disadvantages AIs face, nursing schools have difficulty recruiting, retaining, and graduating AI nursing students. Based on the guidance needed by AI nursing students, a program called Niganawenimaanaanig was specifically designed to provide holistic support for these students to improve their chances of successfully completing the baccalaureate nursing program. This program, funded through a Health Resource Services Administration Nursing Workforce Diversity grant, was begun at Bemidji State University in Minnesota, proximal to three of the largest Ojibwe reservations in the state. Once enrolled in Niganawenimaanaanig, students are provided comprehensive care within a unique cultural, academic, and social support framework. Tuition scholarships and monthly stipends provide crucial financial relief to students once they are accepted into the 4-year prelicensure or RN-to-BS nursing programs. In Niganawenimaanaanig's first 2 years, the number of AI students declaring nursing as a major increased by over 600%, and the program has retained 100% of their prenursing freshmen. At the heart of Niganawenimaanaanig is a grounding in AI culture that empowers and fosters resilience among nursing students, which is a relevant and recreatable concept for schools seeking to recruit and retain ethnic minority nursing students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
JournalCreative Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2020 Creative Health Care Management.


  • American Indian
  • academic support
  • nursing student
  • resilience
  • success


Dive into the research topics of 'Empowered by Cultural Identity and Catalyzed by Resilience: A Path to Support American Indian Nursing Student Success'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this