Becoming a Nurse: The Micro and Macro Construction of First Nations Nursing Students' Experience in a Western Canadian School of Nursing

Canada’s First Nations communities are experiencing their worst nursing shortage in 30 years. First Nations health care professionals are the most effective nursing personnel in their own communities, yet efforts to recruit and retain them in nursing schools have been largely unsuccessful. The little research done on this issue indicates there are barriers to be bridged, including a feeling among First Nations nurses that they must compromise their traditional beliefs and culture to succeed in nursing education. In her doctoral research, Donna Martin is developing a clearer picture of these barriers. Her research involves interviews with students, faculty, health care professionals, First Nations elders and others, along with classroom observation and analysis of course materials, textbooks and university policies. Martin hopes the research will ultimately help nursing schools develop more effective recruitment and retention strategies for First Nations nurses.