The process of coping with changes: A study of learning experiences for the aboriginal nursing freshmen

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Background: Given the increasing presence of aborigines in Taiwan higher education, especially in nursing institutes, the retention and adaptation of aboriginal students is a critical issue for research. Understanding the adjustment and transformation process of aboriginal nursing freshmen is very important for improving their learning, but very little information can be found about their experiences. Aims: In order to provide the references to improve the qualities of multi-ethnic learning in the future, this study is to explore and gain a deeper understanding of the adjustment process of aboriginal nursing freshmen and the meaning they drew from their learning. Participants: The study recruited 20 female aboriginal freshmen from the five year nursing program. These students came from different areas or tribes in Taiwan. The age for these students was from 15 to 17. Methods: A qualitative method was adopted to conduct this research. The primary method for data collection was a series of in-depth interviews conducted by six well-trained interviewers with backgrounds in counseling during the first year of participants' school life. The data analysis was carried out by open coding, axial coding and determining the core theme. Conclusions: 'Coping with changes' was the core theme for describing and guiding the process of first year college life. During the process, the four most common challenges were: (1) Excitement and fear collide initially; (2) Confronting reality; (3) Seeking connection; (4) Getting along with all. Based on the above results, we contend that the aboriginal students need to seek connections. The aboriginal freshmen appreciate teachers who are sensitive to their culture, and they need more support for aboriginal student clubs. Curriculums and pedagogies designed for aboriginal students may benefit them in reaching their highest potential in both academic and social psychological development. This study, therefore, suggests that the institute should offer different programs for the aboriginal nursing freshmen in different adjustment stages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalNew Horizons in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Aboriginal freshmen
  • Coping with changes
  • Learning experiences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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