Indigenous Australian participation in pre-registration tertiary nursing courses: an Indigenous mixed methods study

West, Roianne (2012) Indigenous Australian participation in pre-registration tertiary nursing courses: an Indigenous mixed methods study. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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A well-educated Indigenous nursing workforce is one way to improve the poor health of Indigenous Australians. The Indigenous Nurse Education Working Group Report (2002) called for an increase in Indigenous nurses in the health workforce commensurate with the representation of Indigenous people in the Australian population. The aim of this Indigenous concurrent mixed methods study, undertaken using the tenets of Dadirri, was to uncover the current state of Indigenous nursing student success in tertiary courses. The specific objectives were to describe Indigenous student experiences of barriers to and strategies for success, develop a narrative of the student experience, and to describe the factors that academics identify as barriers to, or strategies for, Indigenous nursing student success.

In the quantitative phase, Department of Education Employment and Workforce Relations, Higher Education Statistics Unit data for the years 2002-2008, was collected and analysed to reveal the differences in commencement numbers, progression, attrition, and completion rates between Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous nursing students. Key study findings were that while national commencement numbers and completion rates for Indigenous nursing students have increased overall, the disparity between completion rates for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students remains wide and in need of urgent attention.

In the qualitative phase interviews were conducted with 8 Indigenous students and 13 academics from Queensland universities. The interview data was analysed using content analysis to identify barriers to, and strategies for, Indigenous nursing student success as identified by students and academics. Barriers to successful course completion identified by Indigenous nursing students and academics have remained similar to those of the last few years except for financial obstacles, which were less of a concern to these participants. Strategies for success include the importance of identifying and harnessing individual student characteristics; supportive and culturally inclusive institutional structures, systems, and processes; strategic relationships, connections, and partnerships; raising family and community knowledge, awareness, and understanding; and, improving academics' knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the issues experienced by the students.

A secondary narrative analysis of the qualitative student interview data was also conducted to uncover stories of success as revealed by the students. The narratives revealed six threads: Making a difference; Valuing Indigenousness; The healing strength of connections; Resisting racism; Embracing support; and, Persevering towards completion. These narrative threads elucidate the stories of success and offer a new perspective from which the experience for these students can be viewed.

Item ID: 25859
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Aboriginal nurses, Aboriginal students, academic success, Australians, barriers to learning, completion rates, Indigenous methodology, Indigenous nurses, Indigenous nursing students, nursing courses, pre-registration
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Copyright Information: Copyright © 2012 Roianne West.
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs:

Chapter 1: West, Roianne, Usher, Kim, and Foster, Kim (2010) Increased numbers of Australian Indigenous nurses would make a significant contribution to 'closing the gap' in Indigenous health: what is getting in the way? Contemporary Nurse, 36 (1-2). pp. 121-130.

Chapter 2: West, Rioanne, West, Leeona, West, Karen, and Usher, Kim (2010) Tjirtamai - 'To Care For': a nursing education model designed to increase the number of Aboriginal nurses in a rural and remote Queensland community. Contemporary Nurse, 37 (1). pp. 39-48.

Chapter 3: Saunders, Vicki, West, Roianne, and Usher, Kim (2010) Applying indigenist research methodologies in health research: experiences in the borderlands. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 39 (Supplement). pp. 1-7.

Roianne West, Lee Stewart, Kim Foster, and Kim Usher (2012) Qualitative Health Research, 22(11). pp. 1582-1590.

Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2013 23:55
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920210 Nursing @ 100%
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