Nurses and human resources in Indian communities : nurse perceptions of factors affecting collaboration with elders and contact with traditional healers on Indian reserves and health centres in Manitoba

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Gregory, David Michael,
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Previous nursing research has not examined the extent of collaboration between nurses and Indian Elders, and contact with traditional healers in Manitoba. An exploratory-descriptive two phase research design was implemented to identify factors affecting collaborative efforts between nursing staff and Indian Elders, and to explore nurse-healer interaction. Phase I consisted of semi-structured, face to face interviews with field nurses (N=10) and Elders (N=13) on three Indian reserves in northern Manitoba. Phase II consisted of a close-ended, structured, census survey mail questionnaire administered to nurses (N=64) working autonomously with Indian clients. Findings based on Phase I interviews and an 81.2% return rate of Phase II questionnaires indicated that nurses who were appreciative of the traditional health care system were collaborating with Elders and healers on reserves and health centres in Manitoba. The need for ongoing and indepth communication between nurses and Elders/healers was established. A more detailed cultural orientation was indicated as needed by the majority of nurses. Factors influencing the collaborative process were identified as: past transcultural experiences, knowledge of who/what Elders are, influence of the nurse's own culture and the attitude of the Elders and community towards the nurse. Client conditions identified as appropriate for Elder referral included: lack of self worth, family discipline problems, social interaction problems, child neglect, and parent-child conflict.