Julie A. Moss

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2010


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Richard Zoucha

Committee Member

Shirley Powe-Smith

Committee Member

Gretchen Schumacher


Ecuador, Ethnonursing, Leininger, Nursing, Qualitative, South America



This qualitative ethnonursing study was to discover and understand the role of the nurse, healthcare beliefs and practices of rural mestizo Ecuadorians. Discovering these beliefs and practices will enable nurses and other healthcare workers to provide care that is acceptable, congruent in culture and health promoting.


The current literature regarding Ecuadorian health practices has been limited to the study of indigenous Americo-Indian groups living in Ecuador. No studies have been conducted in the mestizo rural setting.

Research Design

An ethnonursing method developed by Leininger was used to guide this study which took place in Tosagua, Ecuador.

Conclusions and Implications

The findings are consistent with the cultural life ways of rural mestizo Ecuadorians. The rural Ecuadorians live in community with one another. To be a part of the community means you have others who support and stand with you through health, illness, and life. The role of the family in illness and health is one of support and presence.

Rural mestizo Ecuadorians, though they live in an area of great need and multiple barriers to healthcare are very interested in their health and desire to be enabled to care for themselves. The nurse has not been a part of the day to day healthcare of the informants. The desire of the informants is for a relationship with the nurses in the in-patient and out-patient setting that promotes presence, self-care, and education. These three elements have been teased out from the informant interviews and observational data.

These findings will also impact nursing care of rural mestizo Ecuadorians who reside outside of Ecuador. Understanding their unique needs enables nurses to provide care that is culturally acceptable. These findings also support the usefulness of international nursing studies of people groups in the context of their home environment and the use of these findings in areas where they may reside outside of their home culture.