Mentoring as a Resource for Aboriginal Nurses: Perspectives of Indigenous Knowers

By Josephine Etowa, Lisa Perley-Dutcher, Adele Vukic and Brianna Krekoski.

Published by The International Journal of Organizational Diversity

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 21, 2015 $US5.00

Over the past decade, targeted programs have been developed to increase the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal nurses into the Canadian nursing workforce. This is seen as an effective strategy to address the underrepresentation of Aboriginal peoples in the health professions and in nursing specifically. However, to ensure sustainability of these programs, an understanding of the experiences of Aboriginal nurses already working in the system is necessary to inform their design. This paper will discuss mentorship from the perspective of Aboriginal nurses from research that investigated Aboriginal nurses’ worklife, with the goal of generating a theoretical framework for understanding how their Aboriginal identity influences the quality and nature of nursing practice. The study design was a grounded theory research involving twenty-two registered nurses in the Atlantic region of Canada. The primary mode of data collection was interviews which were transcribed word for word. Coding and the constant comparative method facilitated data analysis. ATLAS.ti computer software was used for data storage and management. This paper will focus on the theme of mentorship as a strategy for fostering the professional growth of Aboriginal nurses. It will address the importance of mentorship, leadership, and advocacy necessary to foster mentoring among this group of nurses. The paper will also highlight the specific strategies these nurses employed to transcend marginality and to survive in the face of challenges. The Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (ANAC) maintains that increasing the number of Aboriginal nurses in Canada is a key factor in improving the health of Aboriginal peoples and communities. It calls for targeted programs that will facilitate institutional change and reduce racism and other challenges influencing the integration and success of historically marginalized students in nursing programs. The findings of this study support this position and are already informing the development of a mentorship program for undergraduate Aboriginal nursing students in a Canadian university.

Keywords: Aboriginal Health, Mentorship, Nursing

The International Journal of Organizational Diversity, Volume 14, Issue 4, September 2015, pp.11-27. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 21, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 432.666KB)).

Prof. Josephine Etowa

Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Lisa Perley-Dutcher

Faculty Member, School of Nursing, University of New Brunswick, Federicton, New Brunswick, Canada

Dr. Adele Vukic

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Professions, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Brianna Krekoski

Student, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada