Friday, July 23, 2004
This presentation is part of : Women's Health
Health Care Policy Implications for Providing Health Care to Immigrant Women
Louise Ivanov, RN, DNS, School of Nursing, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA
Learning Objective #1: Describe patterns of health care utilization by immigrant women
Learning Objective #2: Identify health policies to improve access to health care services for immigrant women

Objective: To learn about the experiences of immigrant women from the former Soviet Union with health care services in the US.

Design: Qualitative study with 3 focus groups of women: 20-30 years, 37-46 years, 60 years and older.

Population: Convenience sample of women in the US 9 months to 8 years was solicited from 2 Russian-speaking churches.

Concept: Women's experiences with health care providers since they have been in the uS.

Methods: A focus group guide was used to collect data. All sessions were in Russian, tape recorded, transcribed into English, and searched for major themes and pattersn.

Findings: Major themes found were access, cost, continuity of care, cultural congruency, health beliefs, provider gender, locus of control, and trust/professionalism. All 3 groups indicated they did not practice Self Breast Exam and older women stated they did not get routine pap smears or mammograms because they were never told they needed them (locus of control). Their use of massage, teas, and herbal remedies prior to seeking health care made it difficult for them to understand why these practices were not valued in the US (health beliefs). Immigrant women had difficulty understanding the heavy reliance on technology to diagnose rather than on touching their bodies as their physicians in the FSU did (culturally congruent care).

Conclusions: This study supports the growing body of knowledge indicating that immigrants' access health care services based on patterns of utilization in their countries of origin and that the value each culture places on health and wellness emigrates with them.

Implications: Nursing implications include the need for providing nursing care based on cultural patterns of health care utilization across immigrant groups, and the need for nurses' active involvement in development of health care policies that improve access to health care services for immigrant populations.

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Sigma Theta Tau International
July 22-24, 2004