Nurse academics identities and contributions to the clinical practice environment: An appreciative inquiry
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AbstractNurse academics have a key role in supporting the Clinical Practice Environment (CPE) where student nurses undertake 50% of their course. Much of the previous literature regarding nurse academics contributions to the CPE has appeared to be quite negative and they have appeared stuck in a no-man’s-land between the HEI and the CPE. Alongside this, the literature indicates that nurse academic identities are complex, fluid and situational. Nurse academic identities appear to have been shaped by a culture of subservience learnt from practice and reinforced by wider society. Appreciative Inquiry was used to explore new perspectives framed in being ‘possibility centred’ rather than ‘problem centred’ to elicit new understandings. The aim of the study was to develop practice guidance through exploring the identities of nurse academics and their contribution to the CPE. Primary data was collected from nurse academics (N=10) and nurses in practice (N=6) using a range of data collection methods, which included individual semi-structured interviews, focus groups and theme board technique. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. Findings indicated that nurse academic identities are derived from CPE engagement, where positive relationships with practice and the ability to draw on their clinical expertise ‘anchor’ nurse academics identities. Nurse academics primarily identified themselves as nurses and were comfortable with that. Nurse academics and nurses in practice identify positively where nurse academic role and practice contributions are harmonised. Nurse academics independence from the CPE was perceived as positive in terms giving advice and guidance to students and nurses in practice. Nurses in practice see education as an intrinsic element of being a nurse and therefore feel affiliated to the HEI and built positive relationships with nurse academics. Nurse academics had positive identities within the Higher Education Institution (HEI) and CPE, viewing themselves as ‘complex hybrids’. Findings also indicated contested areas, which included logistical constraints, competing demands and ‘Queen Mother’ visits to practice (lacking purpose), impacted on nurse academics contribution to the CPE. There was a level of dissonance from nurse academics regarding how ‘practice’ was defined, which influenced perceived contributions to the CPE. This research presents a differing perspective on nurse academic identities, which shows that they are established in the HEI setting and can make meaningful contributions to the CPE using their academic repertoire. Recommendations include that senior managers in HEI's and the CPE should work more closely to retain the highly prized intersection with the CPE. Nurse academics themselves need to confidently assert opportunities to utilise their clinical, educational and research skills explicitly through career planning and should support clinical areas that draw on their expertise.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Professional Doctorate in Health and Wellbeing.
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