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Lessons Taught by Homeless Women Living in the Rural South China Presentation Guilin, PR China June 1-3, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Lessons Taught by Homeless Women Living in the Rural South China Presentation Guilin, PR China June 1-3, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lessons Taught by Homeless Women Living in the Rural South China Presentation Guilin, PR China June 1-3, 2010


3 Purpose To discuss the experience of conducting a qualitative research study on homeless African American women living in the rural south

4 Images of Homelessness Dirty Menacing people People living out of cardboard boxes, grocery carts Living out of cars Bag lady Dumpster divers Bums Tramps Hoboes

5 How are Homeless Women Viewed?

6 Definition of Homeless Person McKinney-Vento Act of 1987 describes a “homeless person” as being: 1.An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; 2.An individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is A.A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations B.An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or C.A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings

7 Chronic Homeless An unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years

8 Familial Composition

9 Ethnicity

10 Health Concerns

11 Backgrounds

12 Education

13 Employment

14 Location

15 Lifetime Self-Reported Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Problems

16 Barriers impacting Nurses’ Provision of Holistic Care 1)Lack of clarity regarding the concept of holism 2)Role ambiguity in regard to personal and professional responsibilities in the provision of holistic care 3)Lack of understanding the subjective perspective of homeless African American women’s experiences 4)Homeless women have not been able to put a voice to their life stories

17 Li Bolin

18 Research Question What is the meaning and perception among homeless African American women of their life experiences?

19 Researcher’s Belief Important to discover first hand knowledge, from these African American women, through the personal stories, expressions, descriptions and expressed meanings of homelessness. It is significant to the nursing profession, in that this knowledge can be used in designing and developing humanistic nursing care, incorporating their cultural experiences, values, and beliefs based upon their life stories, recollections, thoughts and feelings of their day to day survival in the face of homelessness.

20 Key Characteristics of this Study Belief in Multiple Realities Commitment to understanding homeless African American Women’s experiences Commitment to giving back something to the group being studied Developing an ongoing relationship of trust and respect Developing cultural competence and sensitivity Commitment to the participant’s viewpoint

21 Quick glance or deeper inspection?

22 Hope Empowering self. Hands painted as blocks representing the stifling forces of self doubt- even though the blocks are really not the hands but in the mind

23 Rationale for Living in Homeless Shelter Go into the world. Live among the peoples of the world as they live. Learn their language. Participate in their rituals and routines. Taste of the world. Smell it. Watch and listen. Touch and be touched. Write down what you see and hear, How they think and how you feel. Enter into the world. Observe and wonder. Experience and reflect. To understand a world you must become part of that world while at the same time remaining separate, a part of and apart form. Go then, and return to tell what you see and hear, what you learn, and what you come to understand. -Halcolm’s Methodological Chronicle

24 Pain and suffering

25 “ And I’ve told my daughter…you’re not made to be a punching bag. That not what we are here for; but it happens. And you know, when she was hit and beat up, I didn’t really feel like I could say anything and on the inside I’m thinking, Who am I to give her advice about being hit? But the only thing I could tell her was what you see me go through and what he just did to you, you make sure that no other man does that to you. Because I know what it feels like. It happened to me all the time; it only happened to you this one time, and it wasn’t your fault.” (Thelma)

26 Childhood Experiences “ I was totally damaged in and out. I was completely damaged. I did not have no love. I did not have no compassion. I did not have nothing.”

27 Witnessing Horrors Amy described witnessing her father stabbing and killing her mother, and then being killed himself. She recounted the following: He didn’t think we saw him, cut her and drag her through the yard and dump her in the woods. But he got his due, at Christmas, my father’s girlfriend came to the house and threw liquor and kerosene on him and all over the porch, struck that match and said, “I hope you burn…” and she ran off. They came and rescued us, but I never saw him [father] again.

28 Women Empowered “Gave voice” to their experiences, thoughts feelings and stories Presence Non-judgmental Described “feeling better for having someone listen to my story.”

29 Invaluable Lessons Learned Anecdotal narratives form the researcher’s journal illustrates the process of learning invaluable lessons during the course of this study

30 Reflections I sat beside her and watched her as she picked up a Caucasian baby and cuddled that baby against her bosom, it was one of the most touching and memorable sights, black and white, vulnerable humans, both homeless, different races, different ages, facing numerous challenges ahead. She held the baby and rocked back and forth for a long period of time, and the baby would just look up at her and smile. What a memory.

31 Acceptance by the Women As I was joining the job interviewing class, I overheard Shirley sitting at the table with six other women. When I walked in she was telling the group about the interview process and her experience of talking with me the evening before. Shirley appeared to be very proud of being a part of this research study. I overheard her say to the group, ‘you need to go talk with her. You’ll feel better after you talk to her and tell her your story. She won’t think bad about anything you tell her. You can tell her about the drugs, trading sex for money to buy crack, shooting up…it don’t matter what you tell her. She just listens to you, and it’s like having a heavy stone lifted off your chest.’

32 Li Bolin Seeing beyond the walls built up

33 Li Bolin The whole process of being within something, being within ourselves, being within others, and correlating these outer and inner experiences and meaning is infinite, endless, and eternal. This is the beauty of knowledge and discovery. It keeps us forever awake, alive, and connected with that is and with what matters in life.

34 Li Bolin I am wary of my own understandings. Lest I see only what I want to see, or to see only as far as my favorite theory allows. I still allow the possibility that there is meaning in addition to what we initially generate. I must be able to tolerate my own anxiety, to understand it, in order to let the women speak.

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