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Through the Lens of Postcolonial Theory

Establishing Global North-South Partnerships

Healey-Walsh, Judith; Stuart-Shor, Eileen; Muchira, James

doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000556

AIM This study used postcolonial theory as a critical lens to examine the factors that supported or hindered equitable partnership formation within an innovative international service-learning (ISL) program in nursing education.

BACKGROUND As ISL programs proliferate, ethical concerns have arisen as minimal attention has been given to both the host and visiting partners’ experience and perceptions and how these impact partnership development and outcomes.

METHOD A hybrid intrinsic, instrumental, single embedded case study design, including observations, interviews (n = 70), and document analysis, was used to analyze in depth varied partnerships within a US-Kenyan ISL program.

RESULTS Central themes of dispelling assumptions, making connections, revealing privilege, and sharing power emerged and formed a theoretical model, Establishing and Strengthening Partnerships.

CONCLUSION Attention needs to be given to preconceived assumptions, imbalances in privilege, and issues surrounding power and decision-making for equitable, impactful, partnership development. Leadership philosophy, style, and approach make a difference.

About the Authors Judith Healey-Walsh, PhD, RN, is undergraduate nursing program director and clinical associate professor, University of Massachusetts Boston College of Nursing and Health Science, Boston, Massachusetts. Eileen Stuart-Shor, PhD, ANP-BC, is a lecturer, University of Massachusetts Boston College of Nursing and Health Science. James Muchira, MSN, RN, is a doctoral candidate, University of Massachusetts Boston College of Nursing and Health Science. The authors acknowledge the many US and Kenyan students, faculty, clinicians, and administrators who participated in this Kenyan/US international service-learning program and agreed to be interviewed for this case study. We also acknowledge the funding we received from the NLN Nancy Langston Research Award, Sigma Theta Tau, Theta Alpha Chapter Global Nursing Research and Practice Award, and the University of Massachusetts Boston Craig Bollinger Memorial Research Award. For more information, contact Dr. Healey-Walsh at

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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© 2019 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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