Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Carroll Iwasiw

2nd Supervisor

Yolanda Babenko-Mould

Joint Supervisor


Background: Professional acculturation is the process by which the values, attitudes, and norms of a professional culture are internalized. The internalization of professional culture leads to both conscious and unconscious acceptance of tenets that guide subsequent organization of knowledge and professional action. Professional nursing competencies establish and outline many of the values, attitudes, and norms that need to be accultured in undergraduate curriculum. Research utilization, both an identified competency and a key professional value, attitude, and norm, is the application of research findings in all individual and organizational elements of nursing practice. As an integral element of safe, effective, and competent nursing care, research utilization has been identified as an important element of professional nursing.

Research Purpose: The overall purpose of the dissertation study was to develop an interpretive understanding of the enactment of acculturation to research utilization by students and educators in one undergraduate nursing.

Methodology: Focused ethnography was used as a methodology to explore the social construction of norms, understandings, relationships, and experiences that comprise acculturation to research utilization curriculum-in-action across educational experiences and contexts.

Findings: The social construction and acculturation of research utilization transpired unintentionally within the nursing program in the presence of both articulated and unarticulated curricular values, norms, and goals. Two main sub-themes of the unintentional process of research acculturation were identified: the use and role of unintentional curricular language and the variable enactment of values, norms, and goals across educational experiences and contexts.

Discussion and Conclusion: An intentional approach to acculturation to research utilization, an integral professional competency and professional value, attitude, and norm, within the curriculum-in-action through the intentional definition and implementation of appropriate teaching methods to promote student acculturation is essential to socially construct the professional practice of nursing through formalized professional education. Nursing programs need to understand how to successfully acculture students to valued practice competencies such as research utilization because these competencies constitute the essence of professional nursing.

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