Transforming nursing education : a legitimacy of difference.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
In 1973 two trial pre-registration nursing education programmes were piloted in New Zealand polytechnics. These represented an alternative to traditional hospital-sited schools of nursing. The establishment of nursing education in the tertiary sector marked a radical challenge to the cultural heritage of apprenticeship-style nursing training associated with paternal and medically-dominated health institutions. This thesis offers a Foucauldian and feminist poststructuralist analysis of discourses employed by fifteen senior nursing educators in the comprehensive registration programmes between 1973 and 1992. The women employed to teach in the comprehensive programmes faced unique challenges in establishing departments of nursing, in developing curricula that would promote a reorientation of nursing and in supporting candidates to attain their nursing registration. Through semi-structured interviews and discourse analysis methods, a set of unique characteristics shared by this group of early leading comprehensive nursing educators has emerged. The women's narratives were underpinned by discourses that centre around the valuing of education as a vehicle for emancipation and an upholding of a legitimacy of difference in nursing educators' work. The participants upheld the importance of clinical practice skills and drew on their own student nursing experiences as incentives for reforming nursing education. These nursing educators conceptualised an idealised type of graduate, and commonly employed an heroic metaphor to describe their experiences as senior comprehensive educators. Their engagement with such discourses and their shared characteristics demonstrate unique re-constitutions of power, knowledge and relations with their colleagues and clients throughout the education and health care sectors. I propose that these traits characterise the women as strategic and astute professionals who successfully negotiated the construction of comprehensive nursing programmes as a legitimate and transformative preparation for nursing registration.