Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Education




Dr. Pamela Bishop

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Rita Gardiner



The ability of nurses to reflect or critically examine the impact of professional standards of practice, legal guidelines, and ethical frameworks that influence and guide their practice is essential to help patients achieve quality of life and wellness. Regardless of the location and setting where nursing takes place, contextual factors such as the benefits and potential harm resulting from the care provided, availability of resources, the nurse’s scope of practice, and evidence-based practice guidelines, all affect a nurse’s ability to practice in a safe, ethical, competent, caring, and compassionate manner.

Using an exploratory case study to investigate nurses’ (n=9) view of their practice during a 15-day mission in Nepal, semi-structured interviews, perusal of documents, archival records, physical artifacts, and observation contributed to understanding the experience of nursing in the mission. A modified version of constant comparative analysis was employed to examine, code, and triangulate data into themes. Benner’s (2001) novice-to-expert levels of proficiency and an ethics of care provided the conceptual frameworks to support and facilitate the research through an Interpretivist lens. A strength-base care approach to nursing practice and the examination of the critical role of effective and ethical mission leadership also assisted to understand nursing practice in the mission. The findings demonstrate the impact of individual, group, and situational factors on the participants’ ability to nurse during the mission and practice in a safe, ethical, competent, caring, and compassionate manner. Given the lack of available literature and research, the findings of this study contribute to the current yet limited knowledge about nursing practice during missions.