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The rising number of international students studying outside their own country poses challenges for nursing education. Numbers are predicted to grow and economic factors are placing increasing pressure on tertiary institutions to accept these students. In adapting to a foreign learning environment international students must not only adapt to the academic culture but also to the social cultural context. The most significant acculturation issues for students are English as a second language, differences in education pedagogy and social integration and connectedness. Students studying in New Zealand need to work with Māori, the indigenous people, and assimilate and practice the unique aspects of cultural safety, which has evolved in nursing as part of the response to the principles underpinning the Treaty of Waitangi. The Hand Model offers the potential to support international nursing students in a culturally safe manner across all aspects of acculturation including those aspects of cultural safety unique to New Zealand. The model was originally developed by Lou Jurlina, a nursing teacher, to assist her to teach cultural safety and support her students in practising cultural safety in nursing. The thumb, represents ‘awareness’, with the other four digits signifying ‘connection’, ‘communication’, ‘negotiation’ and ‘advocacy’ respectively. Each digit is connected to the palm where the ultimate evaluation of The Hand Model in promoting cultural safety culminates in the clasping and shaking of hands: the moment of shared meaning. It promotes a sense of self worth and identity in students and a safe environment in which they can learn.

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Journal Article

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