Laurie Pierce

Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gayle Roux


This inquiry provided a critical and in-depth analysis of African American nurses’ situations within the context of the work environment. Through this examination, multiple oppressions were illuminated. Participants identified both personal experiences of oppression and oppression related to administrative and interdisciplinary hierarchies. Additionally, the participants provided their insights on the concept of empowerment. Definitions of empowerment included being a voice for self and others and empowering others is empowering to self. Thus, the concept of relational empowerment was explicated. Furthermore, the participants envisioned an ideal environment where administration is supportive of nurses, nurses have time to care for the patients, and the interdisciplinary team have open communication that allowed for holistic care of patients. The participants envisioned an ideal work environment where nurses’ voices were heard, and nurses had an active role in the development of policies and participated in staffing decisions. Open communication within the interdisciplinary team and respect from team members was emphasized. Lateral violence and incivility were eliminated in the participants’ ideal work environment. Finally, to align with the constructs of emancipatory research, praxis occurred through a discussion of how the participants conceived of creating change within the work environment.