Negotiating the Boundaries of Difference in the Professional Lives of Black Nurses

By Josephine Etowa.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Recently, health care professionals are confronted with a consumer population and a set of professional values that require special skills for negotiating cultural difference. Globalisation and the changing demographics of contemporary society call for a diverse health professionals’ workforce to provide a high quality of care for all consumers. Consequently, there is a growing interest in understanding the issues of diversity and social inclusion within the health professions and in programs designed to promote culturally relevant services. Sustained efforts in this area should include an understanding of minority people already working in the system. This paper will discuss the findings of a qualitative study that used grounded theory method to explicate the worklives of twenty Black nurses within the health care system in a Canadian province. The narratives of these Black nurses revealed several issues that influence their quality of worklife including issues of diversity such as diversity a within the workforce, educational curricula, professional literature, work environments and the actual services delivered by health care professionals. In addition, the lack of cultural diversity in leadership positions in the health professions including nursing was perceived as a contributor to poor quality of worklife for minority populations. The paper will conclude with a discussion of how the study’s findings can inform the process of creating and supporting effective cross-cultural interactions in today’s culturally diverse organizations and communities.

Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Black Canadians, Health Care, Nurses, Worklife

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.217-226. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 587.623KB).

Prof. Josephine Etowa

Associate Professor, School Of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Dr Josephine Etowa currently works as an Associate Professor at Dalhousie University School of Nursing. Her employments history spans across international, multicultural and community development issues. She has midwifery and nursing experiences and has worked in a number of roles within the Canadian health care system including working as a lactation consultant, professional development consultant and research associate. Her research program is in the areas of: African Canadians’ health, maternal child health, multiculturalism in health care, immigrant people, women’s health and issues of inequities and social justice. In addition to her current role as a Professor of Nursing, she is actively involved in a number of community development initiatives. Dr Etowa is a founding member and past president of the Health Association of African Canadians (HAAC).


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