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Ethnonursing and the ethnographic approach in nursing

Molloy, Luke, Walker, Kim, Lakeman, Richard and Skinner, Isabelle (2015). Ethnonursing and the ethnographic approach in nursing. Nurse Researcher,23(2):17-21.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 84377429xPUB84
Title Ethnonursing and the ethnographic approach in nursing
Author Molloy, Luke
Walker, Kim
Lakeman, Richard
Skinner, Isabelle
Journal Name Nurse Researcher
Publication Date 2015
Volume Number 23
Issue Number 2
ISSN 1351-5578   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 17
End Page 21
Total Pages 5
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher RCNi
Field of Research 1110 - Nursing
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Aim
To present a critical methodological review of the ethnonursing research method.

Ethnonursing was developed to underpin the study and practice of transcultural nursing and to promote ‘culturally congruent’ care. Ethnonursing claims to produce accurate knowledge about cultural groups to guide nursing care. The idea that the nurse researcher can objectively and transparently represent culture still permeates the ethnonursing method and shapes attempts to advance nursing knowledge and improve patient care through transcultural nursing.

Data sources
Relevant literature published between the 19th and 21st centuries.

Review methods
Literature review.

Ethnography saw a ‘golden age’ in the first half of the 20th century, but the foundations of traditional ethnographic knowledge are being increasingly questioned today.


The authors argue that ethnonursing has failed to respond to contemporary issues relevant to ethnographic knowledge and that there is a need to refresh the method. This will allow nurse researchers to move beyond hitherto unproblematic notions of objectivity to recognise the intrinsic relationship between the nurse researcher and the researched.

Implications for research/practice
A revised ethnonursing research method would enable nurse researchers to create reflexive interpretations of culture that identify and embody their cultural assumptions and prejudices.

Keywords ethnography
transcultural nursing
nursing research
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Created: Tue, 26 Jul 2016, 12:57:58 CST