Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Smye, Victoria

2nd Supervisor

Jackson, Kim


Introduction. Although there are serious health inequities experienced by Indigenous people compared to non-Indigenous people in Canada and racism and discrimination continues to be rife in health care environments, there remains a general lack of attention to Indigenous health (IH) in health professional education programs. In response, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has recommended this be addressed within health profession education, including nursing (Truth and Reconciliation Canada, 2015). However, there is a paucity of evidence describing the challenges and facilitators to incorporating IH into nursing education.

Methodology and Methods. This qualitative study employs interpretive description approaches informed by post-colonial theoretical perspectives to explore the experiences of eight academic nurse leaders in incorporating IH and addressing the TRC’s recommendations in their respective schools of nursing. Data were collected using in-depth semi-structured interviews over video conference and an interpretive analysis was employed.

Results. An inductive iterative analysis produced five high-level analytic themes: (a) Doing the Right Thing, the Right Way; (b) Building Program Capacity; (c) Addressing Institutional Inequity; (d) Disrupting the Status Quo: Challenges and Facilitators; and (e) Journey Toward a Vision. Within these themes, findings are further divided into subthemes that reflect the challenges, facilitators, and opportunities experienced by nursing leaders in incorporating IH and the TRC recommendations into their schools.

Recommendations. Findings indicate that doing this work in a genuine way means avoiding tokenism, engaging in critical self-reflection, threading Indigenous content throughout curricula, and building meaningful partnerships. In addition, cultural safety training for nursing faculty and staff, future research to address the efficacy of that training, and a genuinely collaborative approach across Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to inform strategies designed to address the TRC recommendations in a meaningful way are recommended.