Struggling to succeed: A grounded theory study of becoming a nurse in Qatar within socio-cultural, educational, and professional contexts

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

M. Francis Keen - Committee Chair


The purpose of this research was to study the experiences of Qatari women in the nursing profession. Using the grounded theory method, a substantive theory of struggling to succeed was developed. Data were obtained through tape-recorded interviews with 31 female nurses and 19 female student nurses from a diploma program and a baccalaureate program in the State of Qatar. Data were analyzed by using constant comparative method. Becoming a nurse in Qatar, the basic social process identified from the data, explained the socio-cultural, educational, and professional obstacles encountered by the Qatari women. Becoming a nurse in Qatar occurred in three stages, which included seeking nursing as a career, pursuing nursing education, and joining the nursing workforce.The first stage, seeking nursing as a career, involved selecting a career, negotiating the decision with the family, encountering conflict with the family and community, and asserting freedom of choice. The second stage, pursuing nursing education, involved both the diploma and baccalaureate students encountering difficulties with nursing education, experiencing conflict throughout clinical practice, and acknowledging the outcome of nursing education. The third stage involved joining the nursing workforce after graduating from nursing school. This transition into the profession involved role transformation from student nurse to staff nurse. Role transformation of the diploma graduates included six phases: entering the work world, experiencing reality shock, recovering from reality shock, identifying work obstacles, becoming overwhelmed, and coming to resolution. In contrast, the role transformation of baccalaureate graduates included four phases: entering the work world, establishing a professional role identity, identifying work obstacles, and experiencing personal and professional growth.The Qatari nurses employed a series of processes to confront the increasing challenges faced while becoming a nurse. Nurses who used constructive resolutions emerged from each difficulty capable of restructuring and taking charge of their own professional destiny; they grew in spite of adversity. Some who could not master the challenges of their career and who were not sufficiently guided through their professional paths became stuck and thus were unable to progress further in their professions.


Health Sciences, Nursing; Psychology, Industrial

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