Embedding skin tone diversity into undergraduate nurse education: Through the lens of pressure injury.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2020, 29, (21-22), pp. 4358-4367
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To explore health disparity in on-campus undergraduate nurse education through the analysis of teaching and teaching material exploring pressure injuries.


As a discipline, nursing espouses ideologies of inclusion, equity and valuing diversity. However, little is known about how these ideologies translate into clinical care. Pressure injury prevention is a routine aspect of nursing care; yet, there is evidence of inequity in relation to clinical care and patient assessment, as people with darker skin tones have a higher prevalence of severe pressure injuries before detection of damage occurs. Despite limited literature being available surrounding the topic of pressure injuries and skin tone diversity, it remains the responsibility of nurse educators to address contemporary issues and health disparity within the nursing curriculum.


A multiple method collective case study. The STROBE checklist was followed in reporting this study.


Documentary and observational data of lectures regarding pressure injuries were collected during 2017 and 2018 from five Higher Education Institutes in England delivering approved nursing undergraduate programmes.


Documentary analysis confirmed all Higher Education Institutes overwhelmingly directed teaching and learning activities about pressure injury towards people with Caucasian skin tones. Observation of teaching indicated all teaching sessions only contained brief, separate and superficial information on people with pressure injuries and darker skin tones. There was no discursive language or awareness of colour or colour blindness.


Radical critique of all teaching and learning activities needs to occur, to help explore, improve and meaningfully and authentically include diversity and inclusivity in nurse education, and in particular, how people across the skin tone spectrum are included and represented in teaching and learning activities.

Relevance to clinical practice

Critical examination of current teaching practice is crucial to address disparity and ensure care for people with darker skin tones is optimised. Nurse educators have a responsibility to educate for the care needs of all, as the quality of nurse education has a direct impact on care delivery and health disparity. This paper highlights the importance of addressing skin tone diversity and offers the opportunity for reflective practice, not just in formal education, but in clinical settings by preceptors and senior staff.
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