The objective of the present study was to examine the health beliefs, values and practices of rural residents living in two geographically diverse regions of western Canada.
An ethnographic study with semistructured interviews of 55 persons was conducted with participants ranging in age from 19 to 84 years.
Being healthy was described as having balance in one's life, taking into consideration the relationship between the physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects of the person. Health-seeking behaviours spanned the gamut of diet, exercise, sleep, home remedies, a belief in a spiritual being, to consulting health professionals. Resources that participants valued included professionals who listened, friends, neighbours, church, music, elders, ambulance service and the internet.
It is important that professionals view the person beyond the disease and take into account more than the physical manifestations of an illness. A key component is the demonstration of respect for all persons regardless of age. It is essential that health professionals develop websites providing accurate health-care information. Participants noted the need to recruit and retain professionals in rural regions.
Rural health issues are increasingly recognized as needing attention, but many health policies in Canada are developed for the urban context and universally applied to rural settings. Addressing rural nurses' opportunities for involvement in policy will contribute to our general understanding of rural health while improving community health services. Rural nurses are in a unique position to assist because of their intimate knowledge of their communities and their position as informal community leaders. Challenges to their involvement include decreased numbers and lack of educational preparation about policy. A strength is the higher percentage of rural nurses who are managers compared to their urban counterparts. Nursing education programs need to include theoretical content and practical opportunities related to health policy. Managers need to support rural nurses' attempts in policy development by providing opportunities for membership on policy committees. Finally, once obtaining skills in the policy arena, rural nurses need to work within their communities and workplaces to help develop and implement more appropriate rural-based policies.
People's beliefs about health and making lifestyle changes associated with risk reduction and disease prevention can vary based on their gender and ethnocultural affiliation. Our objective was to describe and explain how gender and ethnocultural affiliation influence the process that people undergo when faced with making lifestyle changes related to their coronary artery disease (CAD) risk. A series of grounded theory studies were undertaken in Alberta, Canada, with men and women from five ethnocultural groups diagnosed with CAD. Here, we describe the cultural aspects associated with urban- and rural-living in 42 Euro-Celtic men and women. Data were collected through semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews and analysed using constant comparative methods. The core variable that emerged through the process was 'meeting the challenge'. There were three phases to the process of managing CAD risk: pre-diagnosis/event, liminal self, and living with CAD. Intra-personal, inter-personal, extra-personal, and socio-demographic factors influenced the participants' capacity to meet the challenge of managing their CAD risk. The influence of these factors was either direct or indirect through the intertwined elements of the participants' knowledge about CAD and perceived extent of necessary change. Each element of this process was influenced by the participants' gender and culture (urban- versus rural-living). When healthcare providers understand and work with the gender- and ethnoculturally based components that influence people's appraisal of their cardiac health and their decision-making, appropriate secondary prevention interventions and positive health outcomes are more likely to follow.