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“You need to be double cultured to function here”: toward an anthropology of Inuit nursing in Greenland and Nunavut Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
Arctic
Greenland
nursing students
nurses
Bourdieu
Capital
Nunavut
Indigenous
Greenlanders
Habitus
nursing
Inuit
anthropology
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Møller, Helle
Supervisor and department
Nuttall, Mark (Anthropology)
Examining committee member and department
Caine, Vera (Nursing)
Smith, Susan (History and Classics)
Fletcher, Christopher (Anthropology)
Valianatos, Helen (Anthropology)
Tester, Frank (Social work)
Department
Department of Anthropology
Specialization

Date accepted
2011-09-28T20:58:35Z
Graduation date
2011-11
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
Working towards an anthropology of nursing, I explore what it means to become and be an Inuit nurse, using as a lens the experiences and voices of Greenlandic and Canadian Inuit nurses and nursing students who are educated and practice in settings developed and governed by Southerners (Danes and EuroCanadians), functioning largely on Southern cultural norms (Danish and EuroCanadian), in Southern languages (Danish and English). I argue that Inuit nurses and students are the Arctic health care systems’ most valuable assets. They offer unique knowledge, qualifications, and spirit to the Arctic health care systems while being affected by health care politics, a lack of permanent health care staff and high turnover rates. These challenges are compounded by Inuit nurses’ and students’ need to negotiate the languages and cultures of the nursing field, the Southern systems and their Southern colleagues, with the languages and cultures of the patients, their families, and the societies from which they come. Inuit nurses’ and students’ success, therefore, hinges on their possessing double cultural and social capital. This includes the ability to communicate in at least two languages and cultures, and in the field of nursing. It also includes the ability to understand, negotiate, and interact, using at least two ways of being in the world, two ways of learning and teaching, and two ways of perceiving the body, health, and disease. I suggest that communication difficulties between Southern and Inuit health care practitioners, as well as between Inuit clients and some Inuit and Southern practitioners, may arise because they possess different cultural capital. This, I maintain, is complicated by the educational and health care systems in the Arctic continuing to be colonial in nature and catering to Southern cultures and habitus, and because some Southern health care practitioners preserve a colonial attitude that creates obstacles to the provision of optimal care to Inuit clients and barriers to equity in workload and professional demands for Inuit and Greenlandic nurses. In order for Inuit nurses’ and students’ knowledge and abilities to have the greatest impact on patient care and recovery they need to be acknowledged, supported and embraced by the Arctic educational and healthcare systems.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R39P2WF4T
Rights
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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File title: きどっひはびはてぴ〠しはひつ〠〭〠きヸぬぬづひたえづぬぬづたうちぬぬ〠〲〰〱〱〠
File title: Microsoft Word - Møller_Helle_Fall 2011
File title: Microsoft Word - Mller_Helle_Fall 2011
File author: Helle Moeller
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