Walking in Two Worlds: A Kaupapa Maori Research Project Examining the Experiences of Maori Nurses Working in District Health Boards, Maori Mental Health Services
Maori mental health nurses undertake alternative ways to practice which are informed by Maori philosophies and principles. This includes a view of health that is holistic and incorporates ideas of the entire rather than the part. This research project investigates the experiences of Maori nurses working in District Health Board (DHB) Maori Mental Health (MMH) services in order to illuminate the practices, skills and knowledge bases that Maori nurses utilise to work with Maori people. This study was undertaken using a Kaupapa Maori research framework. This particular approach permits the validation of nursing practice and knowledge that MMH nurses acquire, develop and use to "walk in two worlds", te ao Maori (the Maori world) and te ao Pakeha (the Western world). The underlying philosophy and principles of a Kaupapa Maori approach provided the cultural framework that was familiar to the participants as Maori nurses. The five participants were MMH nurses who had previously worked or were currently working in services for a period of at least six months. Two semi-structured focus group interviews were used to gather the nurse's discussions of their experiences. Their stories were analysed using an integrated Kaupapa Maori (Maori philosophy) and interpretive-narrative approach. Dissemination of the findings resulted in the development of four dimensions of Maori nursing practice. These were Whanaungatanga (Affiliation); Manamotuhake (Affirmation); Nga whawhai kia haere nga tahi ana (Alignment); and Te kai o te Rangatira, ko te whaikorero (Articulation). These dimensions are broad concepts that capture the unique practice and knowledge necessary to work effectively as a MMH nurse. Understanding these dimensions will assist other nurses in preparing to work within MMH services. They will also help services to identify and implement strategies to support nurses to work more effectively and safely, ultimately enhancing the provision of care and treatment for Maori people.