Becoming a nurse: a study of phronesis and its possibilites
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AbstractResearchers often use sociological perspectives such as professionalization, socialization, and role theory when studying nursing students, or study the interactions between educators and students. These approaches specifically study what a student is becoming or how a student becomes a nurse, but do not focus on who is becoming a nurse. To understand the nursing student experience from an ontological perspective, I interviewed 10 nursing students (all of whom had previous undergraduate degrees) and asked them to describe their experience of becoming a nurse. Guided by Ricouer's understanding of mimesis as an interpretive approach, I develop four themes that reflect participants' experience in becoming a nurse. The first theme explores the temporal experience of students, meaning that their past experiences and imagined future ones all impact their present nursing practice. Secondly, nursing practice seems to be a "right fit" for these participants because their understanding of being a nurse is congruent with who they are as a person. Thirdly, participants continually judge the appropriateness of their own nursing practice and the practice of other nurses, and in the final theme I suggest that participants always consider the good of patient in their nursing practice. Considering the good occurs because participants are honoured that patients trust them so much, and participants return this honour when engaging with the patient. Based on my thematic analysis of the interviews, I construct the following ontology of nursing practice: (a) nursing practice is action, not just work; (b) a nurse's personal ontology is important for good nursing practice; (c) a nurse's character also influences her/his practice, and; (d) nursing practice is an ethical and moral practice. I introduce the ancient Greek concept of phronesis to help understand this ontology, and I conclude the thesis by exploring how phronesis might influence nurse educators and nursing curricula.
Bibliography: p. 173-186