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J Holist Nurs. 2017 Mar;35(1):44-52. doi: 10.1177/0898010116642085. Epub 2016 Jul 8.

Embracing Our "Otherness".

Author information

BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre.
Vancouver Island Health Authority.
Pacific Association of First Nations Women.
BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre.


Theories on the importance of holistic and spiritual healing within nonconventional models of care are vast, yet there is little written about the practical, clinical-level interventions required to deliver such practices in collaborative cross-cultural settings. This article describes the learning experiences and transformative journeys of non-Indigenous nurse practitioners working with a Cultural Lead from an Indigenous community in British Columbia, Canada. The goal of the Seven Sisters Healthy Heart Project was to improve heart health promotion in an Indigenous community through a model of knowledge translation. The article describes the development of a bridge between two cultures in an attempt to deliver culturally responsive programming. Our journeys are represented in a phenomenological approach regarding relationships, pedagogy, and expertise. We were able to find ways to balance two worlds-the medical health services model and Indigenous holistic models of healing. The key to building the bridge was our willingness to be vulnerable, to trust in each other's way of teaching and learning, and allowing diverse viewpoints and knowledge sources to be present. Our work has vast implications for health promotion in Indigenous communities, as it closes the gap between theory and practice by demonstrating how Indigenous models can be integrated into mainstream health promotion practices.


American Indian/Alaska Native; cardiovascular/cardiac/coronary; chronic conditions; health promotion/disease prevention; nurses (advanced practice); nutrition/diet; transcultural/diversity; women healing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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