An exploration of nurses' experiences of caring for people from different cultures in Ireland

PhD thesis

Markey, K. 2017. An exploration of nurses' experiences of caring for people from different cultures in Ireland. PhD thesis Middlesex University School of Law
TypePhD thesis
TitleAn exploration of nurses' experiences of caring for people from different cultures in Ireland
AuthorsMarkey, K.

This study aimed to explore the experiences of both student and qualified nurses of caring for patients from different cultures in one region of Ireland. In particular it explores the concerns and challenges experienced and how nurses dealt with them in their daily practice. Using a grounded theory approach, ten focus groups and thirty individual face-to-face interviews were conducted with student and qualified nurses. As data were collected, it was simultaneously analysed using the classic grounded theory methodological principles of coding, constant comparison and theoretical sampling.
This study described the different challenges nurses face when caring for patients from different cultures and the coping strategies adopted to deal with such challenges in their daily practice. It provides a comprehensive picture of the personal, professional and organisational factors that contribute towards culturally insensitivity. Lack of knowledge leading to uncertainty was the consistent main concern that emerged for informants. Feelings of ambiguity were further influenced by an awareness of potential ethnocentric beliefs, values and stereotypes and the culture of the organisation in which informants learn and work in. The data reveals how nurses used rafts of disengagement strategies as a means of dealing with their lack of cultural knowledge. The culture within the organisation facilitated the disengagement and allowed it to go unnoticed. Accepting less than perfect care and becoming indifferent to the needs of patients who are not Irish is evident in the data. This went unchallenged and consequently culturally insensitive and sometimes even discriminatory care was perpetuated.
This study has implications for nurse education and leaders and managers in clinical settings. Although this study specifically explored nurses’ experiences of caring for patients from different cultures, the findings may have wider implications for nursing practice in Ireland. It highlights the need for nurses to understand themselves and the way in which they form relationships with patients from different cultures. It reiterates the need for greater consideration into how culturally compassionate competence development is taught, learnt and perhaps more importantly applied in practice. Although acknowledging the organisational constraints and education deficiencies that were evident, this study highlights the need for greater individual and organisational commitment to culturally competent care.

Department nameSchool of Law
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print17 Nov 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Nov 2017
Accepted17 Oct 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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