Opening doors: A thematic analysis of the long-term impact of community-based research in the field of HIV

Vera Caine, Judy Mill, Jean Chaw-Kant, Maggie McGinn, Ray Chorney


Health professionals, including nurses, have been identified as a source of stigma for persons living with HIV (PLWH). Stigma towards PLWH may be predicated on the lack of basic education about HIV in pre-licensure nursing curricular, few opportunities for continuing education in HIV, and persistent discriminatory attitudes about HIV among nurses. From 2011 to 2013, in collaboration with the Canadian Association for Nurses in AIDS Care (CANAC), we developed and implemented a community-based intervention research project entitled A clinical mentorship model for Canadian nurses in HIV care. In previous publications, we reflected on the process, strengths and challenges of conducting this community-based research (CBR) study and we documented the improved knowledge, attitudes, and practices of nurses. Five years after the completion of our CBR study, we re-engaged with some of the participants, with the purpose of assessing whether outcomes had been sustained. We interviewed 15 of the original 56 participants. The data analysis was carried out using thematic analysis. In the current paper we highlight the themes of project design, in particular the CBR design, capacity building and relationships that emerged in our follow-up study. Overall participants looked back on their involvement in the mentorship project as a very positive experience that had opened new, unexpected doors. The participants described many areas of personal and professional growth as a result of their participation. Despite a period of more than five years since the completion of the initial CBR study, the community-based participatory design, the inclusion of PLWH as mentors, and the focus on experiential learning, were seen as fundamental to sustaining the long-term positive impact.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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