Qualitative Research in an International Research Program: Maintaining Momentum while Building Capacity in Nurses

  • Judy Mill Faculty of Nursing University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Colleen Davison Department of Public Health Sciences Queen’s University Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • Solina Richter Faculty of Nursing University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Josephine Etowa School of Nursing Faculty of Health Sciences University of Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Nancy Edwards School of Nursing Faculty of Health Sciences University of Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Eulalia Kahwa The UWI School of Nursing, Mona University of the West Indies Kingston, Jamaica
  • Miriam Walusimbi Ministry of Health Kampala, Uganda
  • Jean Harrowing Faculty of Health Sciences University of Lethbridge Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Abstract

Nurses are knowledgeable about issues that affect quality and equity of care and are well qualified to inform policy, yet their expertise is seldom acknowledged and their input infrequently invited. In 2007, a large multidisciplinary team of researchers and decision-makers from Canada and five low- and middle-income countries (Barbados, Jamaica, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa) received funding to implement a participatory action research (PAR) program entitled “Strengthening Nurses’ Capacity for HIV Policy Development in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean.” The goal of the research program was to explore and promote nurses’ involvement in HIV policy development and to improve nursing practice in countries with a high HIV disease burden. A core element of the PAR program was the enhancement of the research capacity, and particularly qualitative capacity, of nurses through the use of mentorship, role-modeling, and the enhancement of institutional support. In this article we: (a) describe the PAR program and research team; (b) situate the research program by discussing attitudes to qualitative research in the study countries; (c) highlight the incremental formal and informal qualitative research capacity building initiatives undertaken as part of this PAR program; (d) describe the approaches used to maintain rigor while implementing a complex research program; and (e) identify strategies to ensure that capacity building was locally-owned. We conclude with a discussion of challenges and opportunities and provide an informal analysis of the research capacity that was developed within our international team using a PAR approach.

Author Biographies

Judy Mill, Faculty of Nursing University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Professor Emeritus Faculty of Nursing University of Alberta
Colleen Davison, Department of Public Health Sciences Queen’s University Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Research Scientist and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Community Heath and Epidemiology at Queen’s University. Clinical Research Centre at Kingston General Hospital.
Solina Richter, Faculty of Nursing University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Associate Professor Faculty of Nursing University of Alberta
Josephine Etowa, School of Nursing Faculty of Health Sciences University of Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Associate Professor School of Nursing Faculty of Health Sciences University of Ottawa
Nancy Edwards, School of Nursing Faculty of Health Sciences University of Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Full Professor, School of Nursing, and the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa; Director, Community Health Research Unit; Principal Scientist, Institute of Population Health; Senior Scientist, Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute; and Academic Consultant, City of Ottawa (Public Health Services)
Eulalia Kahwa, The UWI School of Nursing, Mona University of the West Indies Kingston, Jamaica
Lecturer The UWI School of Nursing, Mona University of the West Indies
Miriam Walusimbi, Ministry of Health Kampala, Uganda
Assistant Commissioner Health Services Ministry of Health Kampala, Uganda
Jean Harrowing, Faculty of Health Sciences University of Lethbridge Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Associate Professor Faculty of Health Sciences University of Lethbridge Research Affiliate, Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy
Published
2014-05-29
Section
Articles