Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Loretta B. Johns

Second Advisor

Candice Hollingsead

Third Advisor

Delyse Steyn

Abstract

Problem. The knowledge, beliefs, and practices associated with childbearing among Amish women from their perspective are not widely known. The available research on Amish childbearing health practices does indicate that these women are at high risk for problems during the childbearing period. This indication, coupled with both a general mistrust of outsiders and the Amish separateness from society at large, creates opportunities for misunderstandings. These misunderstandings in turn have created challenges for care providers outside the Amish culture who are seeking research-based knowledge about what constitutes culturally congruent childbearing care from the Amish woman's perspective. It is unknown how using a Servant-Leadership model to provide care in a culturally congruent manner could decrease misunderstandings and build mutual trust and respect so that opportunities for risk reduction during childbearing may be realized.

Method. A qualitative ethnographic design was chosen to facilitate exploration and understanding of Amish women’s perceptions of their childbearing beliefs and practices, as well as the implications for care providers who seek to provide care in a culturally congruent manner. The characteristics that are central to a meaningful practice of Servant-Leadership were explored using an ethnographic approach. The use of semi-structured interview questions and field observation assisted in exploring the constructs of the three research questions. These explorations and analysis of the data were discussed and conceptualized through ease study representation. -

Results. The 10 guiding principles of Servant-Leadership were found to be congruent with the Amish ways as stated from the perspective of these Amish women. Utilizing these principles afforded opportunities for nurse-midwives as Servant-Leader care providers to positively impact the childbearing health care of the Amish women in this community by facilitating educational opportunities during childbearing. -

Conclusions. The 10 guiding principles of Servant-Leadership facilitated the construction of the Concept of Care Model which supplies the non-Amish care provider a visual aid to incorporate when planning provision of culturally congruent care to Amish women. The model includes caring, culturally sensitive, and informed concepts geared toward solidifying a congruent partnership between the two different cultures. The Servant- Leader model provided a framework from which both the Amish childbearing woman and the nurse midwife felt comfortable to apply the 10 characteristics of Servant- Leadership, incorporating these culture-caring principles as needed into their care plan to build a trusting relationship.

Subject Area

Childbirth--Religious aspects--Amish, Maternal health services, Amish women--Health and hygiene, Servant leadership, Midwives.

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