A Challenge! By Beth Lincoln, MSN, RN, NP, CTN-A

A Challenging Situation . . .

  • You are in a car that is moving at a constant speed.
  • To your left is a steep downward slope. To your right a large fire truck moves at the same speed as yours.
  • Directly ahead of you is a helicopter flying less than two feet off the ground. You can’t seem to get around it.
  • Suddenly, you notice a rider on a large horse behind your car. He is keeping pace and seems alarmingly close.

***How will you get out of this situation without hurting yourself

or someone else?

As a team, please spend 5 minutes to decide what you will do and write down your plan.

Reproduced from: Lothar Katz, “Strange Situations,” In Berardo, K., Deardorff, D.K.  (Eds) Building  cultural competence: Innovative activities and models.  VA: Stylus, 2012).

I begin my Transcultural Nursing seminars with this activity. The responses range from: Just maintain your speed to Put on your flashers to Dial 911. The answer – you’re on a carousel ride and you just need to wait until the music stops! Perception is not always reality is the message of the day.

I discovered this exercise in the book Building Cultural Competence: Innovative Activities and Models (2012), edited by Kate Berardo and Darla K. Deardorff. It is a compilation of innovative tools and activities, designed to engage participants in cultural awareness and competence. Berardo and Deardorff reached out to consultants around the world asking them to share their most effective and innovative activities. The result – cutting edge exercises, tools and training options that promote cultural competence. It is especially heartwarming to read the author’s reference to use of material in the book. They state, “. . . We encourage you to photocopy and use these handouts in your work – with one simple request: Please give credit where credit is due, respect the generosity of our contributors in sharing their work with you. . .” (Bernardo, K., Deardorff, D.K. 2012. p. 5)

When we share our work with others, not only do we benefit individually, but the participants in our seminars and classrooms, and most importantly, our patients and their families health and well-being thrive.


Berardo, K., Deardorff, D.K.  (2012).  Building Cultural Competence: Innovative Activities and Models.  VA: Stylus.