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Complexities of Nursing

The current ANS featured article is titled “Complexities in Studying and Practicing Nursing—A Theoretical Elaboration Based on Reflections by Nurses and Nursing Students” authored by Joakim Öhlén, PhD, RN; Annette Bramstång, MScN, RN; Frida Lundin Gurné, MScN, RN; Anneli Pihlgren, BSc, RN; Marie Thonander, MScN, RN; and Marit Kirkevold, EdD, RN. You can download this article at no cost while it is featured, and we welcome your comments and discussion of this article in the comments below! This is a message that Dr. Öhlén provided about this work:

We’ve explored ideas about nursing as a subject from the perspectives of nurses and nursing students. The motive for the project was discussions about current nursing practice and the development of nursing as a subject, which in our Swedish healthcare as well as scholarly context has been characterized by a sometimes really intense debate about terminology (nursing vs caring), what it should encompass (generic caring knowledge vs professional nursing knowledge and skills), and where its boundaries with other subjects lie.

For this reason, we performed a participatory action project to explore nursing students’ and clinically active registered nurses’ experiential ideas about nursing – to provide a foundation for a critical reflection on the complexities involved in studying and practising nursing. We performed two empirical cycles and one final cycle with a theoretical interpretation. In total there were 238 participants. We who undertook the study are all nurses in metropolitan Sweden; professors, teachers, clinical nurse specialists and nursing students.

L-R: Marie Thonander, Annette Bramstång, Marit Kirkevold, Anneli Pihlgren, Joakim Öhlén (Frida Lundin Gurné is missing)

From focus group data we identified nine experiential ideas about nursing as a composite of subject, nursing practice and being a nurse. The ideas ranged from Nursing is holistic to Nursing is prioritising, and to Nursing is following check-lists and guidelines. Then, the ideas were presented to supervisors in clinical practice, teachers/researchers and students, and all of these perceived all nine ideas to be important foci for students’ learning in clinical practice. Finally, the ideas identified were related to clinical gazes and to two different epistemological structures.

We think our result will contribute to explain the confusion many nursing students and practising nurses express with regard to nursing as a composite of subject, nursing practice and being a nurse. We hope you’ve been interested in the article and here you can listen to us telling about the study, and that reading it will open up for critical reflections, commentaries and for the discussion to be continued. Thank you

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