Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science

Dissertation Committee

Diane C. Hatton, DNSc, RN, Chair; Mary Ann Hautman, PhD, RN; Lance Nelson, PhD


cultural discovery, nurse-patient relationship, nursing, Vietnamese, patients


The purpose of this investigation was to generate a substantive theory of cultural discovery among nurses who work with Vietnamese. A grounded theory approach involving dimensional analysis was employed. A purposive sample of 27 registered nurses with experiences working with Vietnamese in acute care, community, and clinic settings was interviewed using a semi-structured format. Data were analyzed for dimensions as well as conditions, context, action strategies, and consequences. The theory of cultural discovery described how nurses learn to see their Vietnamese clients, how they saw a common humanity with others, and how they learn to see health. Nurses who made cultural discoveries were able to connect with their clients. The conditions for connection included using prior knowledge, learning to know the Vietnamese, taking extra care when providing care, and being able to develop a shared brokering relationship with interpreters. Taking extra care included being respectful in a culturally appropriate way, doing a bit more then the usual nursing care, and developing partnerships with clients. Shared brokering included working with interpreters as translators as well as using their expertise as cultural professionals. Nurses' experiences of cultural discovery affected their world view and taught them how to provide sensitive care for people who were different from themselves. Nurses learned to see their own culture and redefine what was important. Sensitive care involved learning how much to push a particular health approach, using resources in an effective way, building bridges with their Vietnamese clients and dealing with glitches in the health system. A consequence of the nurses' care was that Vietnamese were helped to take charge of their own health care needs. Nurses who were not connecting with their clients provided standard care that did not reflect the sensitivity nurses learned through cultural discovery. The findings of this study offer a theory of cultural discovery for nurses who work with Vietnamese. The theory has implications for nurse educators, practitioners, researchers, and managers working in multicultural settings.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons