Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A grounded theory study of the critical factors influencing nurse professionals' perceptions of their role in social justice
by Walter, Robin Whitten, Ph.D., Barry University, 2014, 255; 10153743
Abstract (Summary)

Background: Scholars increasingly argue that health and its attendant disparities and inequities are socioculturally constructed, and implore nurses to engage in social justice to identify and redress the societal conditions that negatively impact individual and public health. Few nurses understand or engage in social justice, but professional awareness and involvement may increase if a theoretical framework elucidating the process can be developed.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to generate a theory of social justice specific to the discipline of nursing. The primary research question was, "What are the critical factors shaping nurse professionals' perceptions and attitudes about their role in social justice?" Related questions included, "How do nurse professionals come to know and practice social justice?" and, "What process do nurse professionals use to identify the contexts in which they will engage in social justice?"

Philosophical Underpinnings: This qualitative, constructivist grounded theory study was guided by the philosophical tenets of symbolic interactionism and pragmatism.

Methods: This study used the constructivist, grounded theory methodology articulated by Charmaz. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data from nurses who engaged in social justice. Data segments from the interviews were coded, categorized, and analyzed for conceptual relationships. Theoretical sampling was used to develop and saturate the conceptual categories and themes identified from the interviews. The conceptual relationships were developed into a substantive theory to explain the role of nurse professionals' engagement in social justice. A focus group of six nurse experts in social justice was used to confirm the generated theory of the nurse professional's role in social justice.

Results: Emancipatory nursing praxis was the basic social process that was co-constructed from the voices of nurses engaged in social justice and the researcher's interpretation of their experiences, perceptions, and attitudes. The implementing processes—becoming, awakening, engaging, and transforming—comprised the interactive processes that concomitantly determined emancipatory nursing praxis. Two conditional contexts, relational and reflexive, framed and influenced the process. The theoretical framework of emancipatory nursing praxis provided an in-depth understanding of the process of nurse engagement in social justice.

Conclusions: The theoretical framework co-constructed from this study can be used to guide nursing education, research, and practice of social justice, thereby strengthening the profession's ability to identify and redress the societal conditions that negatively impact individual and public health.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Colin, Jessie M.
Commitee: Chin, Claudette R., Edmonds, Michelle L.
School: Barry University
Department: Health Sciences
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 78/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Nursing
Keywords: Constructivist grounded theory, Emancipatory nursing praxis, Middle-range theory, Nursing theory, Privilege, Social justice
Publication Number: 10153743
ISBN: 9781369088632
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