Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Margaret Black, PhD, RN


Jenny Ploeg, PhD, RN



Committee Member

Wayne Warry, PhD


The purpose of this qualitative, interpretive study was to gain an understanding of the client experience at a health promotion and illness/injury prevention health centre within a First Nations community in Southern Ontario. A Heideggerian, hermeneutic approach and participatory processes were used within the research framework. Data were collected through the use of face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with 7 female and 5 male members of a First Nations community. Thematic analysis based upon the work of Max van Manen was employed and resulted in three overriding themes: (a) health and being healthy, (b) I use the health centre, and (c) I don’t use the health centre. Essential components of being healthy included having choices and being able to make them, being able to care for self and others and eating right. Some participants viewed their health centre as a valued source of information and services for both health and illness and as a trusted location for accessing traditional healers. Other participants reported little or no use of their health centre due to a lack of awareness of services offered, a lack of comfort and familiarity with the health centre's staff, services and building structure, a reliance on self-healing methods, and/or a reliance on other sources of health information such as family, community Elders and the Internet. The study provided insights on a First Nations community vision of an ideal health centre. Implications for nursing education, research and policy are provided.

McMaster University Library

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Nursing Commons