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A Focused Ethnography of Undergraduate Nursing Students Who Are Using Motivational Interviewing Open Access


Other title
motivational interviewing
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Howard, Lisa M.
Supervisor and department
Williams, Bev (Nursing, University of Alberta)
Examining committee member and department
Davidson, Sandra (Nursing, University of Alberta)
Olson, Joanne (Nursing, University of Alberta)
Goudreau, Johanne (Nursing, University of Montreal)
Madill, Helen (Extension Faculty, University of Alberta)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
With an increased focus in health care on lifestyle modification to reduce risk factors for non-communicable disease, nursing students would benefit from knowledge and skill in supporting clients with health behavior change. Nursing students receive content for health education but have limited exposure to using behavioral counselling skills. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a promising approach to increase pre-licensure students’ skill in the area of health behavior change. The majority of studies of MI attend to measuring its effect on health management behaviors while the research on teaching MI focuses on licensed health professionals. There is little research on teaching students MI and no inquiry including in the perspectives of students, clients and instructors. The purpose of this project was to understand how undergraduate nursing students learn and apply MI in the clinical setting, and to determine the salient features from the perspectives of key participants in the learning environment: students, instructors and clients. A focused ethnography was employed to extend the understanding of how a theoretically based collaborative approach could be learned by baccalaureate nursing students and applied in a clinical setting. The product of the inquiry is a cultural description of key domains associated with teaching students a relational skill, motivational interviewing, and integrating that skill into a collaborative partnership. All features in the domains are supported with literature, yet many of these features – such as using MI in a collaborative partnership or transforming through experiencing MI – have not been previously described. Issues were raised regarding the processes of learning motivational interviewing to be addressed by educators, clinicians and researchers.
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. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before 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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