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Walking in Multiple Worlds: Stories of Aboriginal Nurses Open Access


Other title
Aboriginal, nurses, stories
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Desjarlais, Joyce
Supervisor and department
Cameron, Brenda (Nursing); King, Malcolm (Medicine)
Examining committee member and department
Clandinin, Jean (Education); Conroy, Sherrill (Nursing); Caine, Vera (Nursing); Huber, Janice (External)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Abstract Some Aboriginal nurses have had unique experiences in terms of both formal and informal education. The purpose of this study was to explore the stories of Aboriginal nurses to gain a greater understanding of their personal and professional experiences that have impacted their views of self, of the world around them and of nursing. Hall, Stevens and Meleis (1994) explain that the future of nursing depends on the ability of the discipline to work with diverse people and community. Narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) was used to guide this study. I engaged in conversations with three Aboriginal nurses. The stories which emerged from these conversations and the field notes became the field texts for the study. The field texts were analysed within the three dimensional narrative inquiry space of temporality, sociality and place. Reflecting on my experiences and those of some Aboriginal nurses, the resonant threads illuminated some of the human experience of the nurses. The intent was to understand where and how each of us is embedded within, and shaped by, our social, personal, cultural, and institutional stories. This research is represented in a traditional academic format and includes ten chapters. The first chapter introduces topics such as the “other” and uses an autobiographical story to help situate the research and the readers within narrative inquiry. The second chapter, the literature review, highlights elements such as Aboriginal and nursing education, the history of nursing and explores the concept of cultural competence. The third chapter describes the methods used in the narrative inquiry with nurse participants to inquire into and retell their lived and told stories of experience. Chapters four, six, and eight are the findings chapters where the stories are retold by the researcher. In chapters five, seven and nine the stories are analyzed. Chapter ten discusses and explores the common threads of our stories and some of the overarching impacts of the processes and stories of this research.
License granted by Joyce Desjarlais ( on 2011-07-14 (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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