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Professional education, ideology and learning: A study of student nurses' construing of patients and their care

Watts, M. (1994). Professional education, ideology and learning: A study of student nurses' construing of patients and their care. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The study outlined in this thesis stems from empirical work carried out with student nurses over a four year period. It reflects a constructivist theoretical perspective and integrates notions of shared representations, ideology and learning within the context of student nurses' construing of patients and their care.

The study was prompted by observations of curriculum change in nurse education and the framing of questions relating to the impact of this upon student nurses' construing.

The research methodology owes a lot to George Kelly's personal construct perspective and repertory grid techniques but has been broadened to take account of shared representations as manifest in patterns of shared constructions. The study also focuses upon what might appear to be inconsistent and potentially dilemmatic or paradoxical aspects of construing.

The study provides detailed information relating to the construing of student nurses who had studied an 'old' Registered General Nurse (RGN) curriculum, a 'new' RGN curriculum with an increased emphasis on the psychosocial aspects of nursing care, and students who had newly entered training and not commenced any programme.

Amongst other findings it was identified that all groups valued psychosocial aspects of care highly, although there was evidence of them feeling least well prepared in these areas. The 'new' curriculum students, however, appeared to be more aware of the disjuncture between theory and practice in relation to psychosocial aspects of care.

All groups demonstrated a 'blaming' attitude towards patients whose ill health they considered to be caused by their behaviour, there was, however, some indication of this being less prominent for the 'new' curriculum students.

The results of the study are discussed in relation to notions of social representation, ideological influences upon construing, the dilemmatic aspects of ideology, learning, and professional education. Issues relating to cognitive complexity and interpersonal communication are also discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Watts thesis 1994 PDF-A.pdf]
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