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ISRN Nursing
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 196437, 9 pages
Research Article

Understanding Race and Racism in Nursing: Insights from Aboriginal Nurses

1Dalhousie School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Professions, 1459 Oxford Street, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 4R2
2Mijua'ji'j Aqq Ni'n, Unama'ki Maternal Child Health, 201 Churchill Drive, Membertou, NS, Canada
3Eskasoni Health Board, Eskasoni Community Health Center, Eskasoni, NS, Canada
4School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8M5

Received 25 March 2012; Accepted 24 April 2012

Academic Editors: R. C. Locsin and C. Winkelman

Copyright © 2012 Adele Vukic et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. Indigenous Peoples are underrepresented in the health professions. This paper examines indigenous identity and the quality and nature of nursing work-life. The knowledge generated should enhance strategies to increase representation of indigenous peoples in nursing to reduce health inequities. Design. Community-based participatory research employing Grounded Theory as the method was the design for this study. Theoretical sampling and constant comparison guided the data collection and analysis, and a number of validation strategies including member checks were employed to ensure rigor of the research process. Sample. Twenty-two Aboriginal nurses in Atlantic Canada. Findings. Six major themes emerged from the study: Cultural Context of Work-life, Becoming a Nurse, Navigating Nursing, Race Racism and Nursing, Socio-Political Context of Aboriginal Nursing, and Way Forward. Race and racism in nursing and related subthemes are the focus of this paper. Implications. The experiences of Aboriginal nurses as described in this paper illuminate the need to understand the interplay of race and racism in the health care system. Our paper concludes with Aboriginal nurses’ suggestions for systemic change at various levels.