Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Babenko-Mould, Yolanda

2nd Supervisor

Ward-Griffin, Catherine


The purpose of this study was to critically examine the sociocultural context of nursing education as an institution. Using a postcolonial feminist theoretical framework and institutional ethnography, I illuminated the institutional complex of nursing education. This study addressed the following research questions: 1) How do practices, programs, and policies coordinate social relations within the institution of nursing education; and 2) How are Indigenous students’ everyday lives shaped by the institution of nursing education?

Multiple methods were used to collect data, including: interviews, observations, and text analysis. Interviews were conducted with students, educators, and administrators and others involved in nursing education. Observations were conducted both formally, during interviews and meetings and informally, during my daily work within nursing education. Texts were collected to further explicate the institutional complex.

The findings from this study revealed that race and class ruled the institution. Analysis exposed two irreconcilable social relations: Identifying as Indigenous and Identifying as a Nurse, that were central work processes within nursing education. The intersection of race and class was organized around Cultural Competence that was prevalent throughout institutional discourse. Cultural competence reproduced colonial ideology that provided the basis for dominant knowledge and shaped inclusionary/exclusionary practices. Thus, idealized practices that were aimed at the inclusion of Indigenous students ran contrary to intentions, as students were socially stratified based upon race and class relations. The findings illuminate the need to cultivate additional attentiveness and action related to social inequities within nursing education. Recommendations have been made related to education, policy, and research.