The Perspectives of Global Leaders Situated Within the Aga Khan Development Network on the Role of Nurses in Early Childhood Development: An Interpretive Descriptive Study

  • Author / Creator
    Vastani, Muneerah
  • Background: The role of early life experiences in life-long human development is distinct. Early life experiences are a strong indicator among the determinants of health, and they are instrumental in addressing vulnerabilities and enhancing human capabilities. Global agencies have invested substantial resources and strategies in advocating for early childhood development (ECD). Nurses have a pivotal role to play in the realization of ECD in practice, teaching, and research. However, understanding of nurses’ roles in the context of ECD from a theoretical and empirical perspective is limited. This research was guided by the capabilities approach framework developed by Martha Nussbaum.
    Purpose: The purpose of this research was to explore the perspectives of global leaders who are situated within the Aga Khan Development Network regarding their perspectives on ECD and nurses’ involvement in addressing ECD in health. In particular, barriers and facilitators were explored in relation to nurses’ participation in supporting ECD in countries that receive services through the Aga Khan Development Network.
    Methodology: An interpretive descriptive design was employed to examine and interpret the perspectives of global leaders. Ethical approval was obtained prior to data collection. Interviews of 45 to 60 minutes duration were held with eleven participants who were working within AKDN institutions in Pakistan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The conversations were held with individuals virtually using Zoom utilizing a semi-structured interview guide. NVivo was used to manage the data. Reflexive thematic analysis was employed to look for emerging themes and subthemes.
    Finding analysis: Eight major themes emerged around the significance of ECD, the role of nurses across various health settings, and related barriers and facilitators for nurses' involvement in addressing ECD. Participants' perspectives on the significance of ECD from the lens of health equity and social justice were unique. They brought philosophical perspectives to connect ECD and global targets in the context of the health and well-being of children, families, and the community as a whole. The diverse roles of nurses positioned in various settings in supporting ECD integration were explored. Participants also indicated the barriers and enablers for integrating ECD in health led by nurses in various settings. The implications of this research uncovered new avenues to strengthen nurses' involvement in ECD that hold the potential to enhance the health and well-being of children and young families.
    Conclusion: This study's findings present a unique perspective of ECD and nurses' involvement from a global perspective. Finding signify that the boundaries and impact of ECD are multiple. It is a life spectrum approach that provides a strong foundation for children's and families’ wellbeing. ECD is viewed as a natural platform for nurses to work for health equity and social justice. The results also propose that ECD is a strong bridge that nurses can utilize to develop human capacity from the early years of life and work towards the salutogenesis for the wellbeing of children and their families. Participants’ multifaceted leadership experiences depicted the confidence that nurses should take a leading role in integrating ECD not only in nursing but in health and other sectors through their leadership role and collaborating attributes. Moreover, findings indicate potential ways to overcome the challenges on the road to ECD integration by bringing changes in nursing education, practice, research, and policies.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. 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.