Finding ways together: Researching with Aboriginal women in a mental health setting

Patricia Bradley, Tricia Nagel, Karen Macklin, Cherise Daiyi, Anne Lowell, Sandra Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction: This paper describes the collaborative development of a method and process for transcultural qualitative enquiry, undertaken as the second phase of a mixed methods PhD research project. 

Aim: To develop an ethical, sensitive and culturally secure research method and process with which to explore the experiences of Aboriginal women in an acute mental health inpatient unit, a potentially vulnerable research population. To invite Aboriginal women to share their stories and their experiences as current inpatients, or as carers, visitors and health service providers. 

Method: A local Aboriginal Reference Group (ARG) was constituted and collaborated with the first author in developing working strategies and tools. Members of the ARG guided all aspects of the research process, acted as primary agents for information-giving, informed consent and interview processes, and were co-authors of relevant publications. 

Results: The method described here fostered trust and cultural respect, and embedded informed consent as an ongoing process. Eleven Aboriginal women inpatients undertook a single semi-structured interview prior to discharge from the inpatient unit. Five ARG members also gave interviews, adding insights from their ‘insider-outsider’ perspectives. A rich dataset of personal experience was made available for analysis. 

Conclusions: The process devised for this study integrated principles of cultural respect and collaboration with an ongoing process of informed consent. By integrating these principles into research initiatives and evidence-based practice, and by ensuring familiarity with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures, non-Aboriginal mental health nurses can enhance transcultural mental health service delivery in an acute setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-264
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Early online date16 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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