Alia Lagace

Alia is an instructor in the College of Nursing at the University of Manitoba. She greatly enjoys working with students in the Skills lab and clinical practice settings. It was in this role that she discovered an interest and passion in making the learning experience better for English additional language (EAL) nursing students. She resides in Winnipeg with her husband, Justin, and 2 children Iver and Addie.

Title: English as an Additional Language Learners’ Journey Through Nursing Education in Canada


Background and Significance

There is a well-established need for the nursing workforce to accurately represent the ethnocultural diverse populations it serves. However, nursing students who speak English as an additional language (EAL) face significant challenges throughout their educational programs. This problem is attributed to many causes from admission standards, cultural bias, lack of supports and more. Despite a plethora of literature, there is a dearth of studies exploring the perspective of the graduated EAL nurse. This demographic offers duality of experience, being recent students, therefore having a current sense of educational programs, while also understanding the intricacies of being an active practioner.

Research Question

This study asks: what can be learned from the lived experiences of recently graduated EAL nurses, looking back on their Canadian undergraduate nursing education programs?


Interpretive description (ID) was the chosen methodology for this study as its premise is to explore and interpret a specific human experience and relate the findings back to applied practice.


Five participants were recruited for semi-structured interviews. Data from the public domain was also included. Data was analyzed using constant comparative analysis (CCA); data emersion, broad category formation, and rigorous notetaking.

Results and Implications

Results yielded several themes and recommendations, central among them was the impact of EAL nurses’ significant relationships with stakeholders, from peers to patients to nursing faculty, and how these relationships could serve to inspire and improve pedagogical practices that support diversity in nursing.

Keywords: English as an additional language (EAL), undergraduate nursing students, Canadian nursing education, Interpretive description (ID)

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