Searching for intuition : discovering the unsayable within discourses of nursing practice
This study outlines a hermeneutical journey which investigated the contested concepts of intuition, reflection, thinking and knowing-in-action. Situated within the 'world' of nurses and their patients, participant observation enabled the lived experiences and narrative accounts of four registered nurses to be explored and analysed. When the traditional methodological frameworks associated with ethnography and participant observation proved inadequate, the author drew upon insights from postmodernism, discourse analysis. Nightingale and Foucault to develop and evaluate the study. Three significant points emerged. First, an epistemological discourse of the grey/rainbow is encountered. This discourse acknowledges that 'all cannot be said'. Second, it is argued that intuition refers to a signifying process which enables the practitioner to indicate a particular state of being of Self to Other. Fieldwork evidence suggested that when registered nurses 'know' in practice, they utilise a range of searching activities which orientate the Self/Other, thereby enabling plurisensorial, embodied knowing/doing to contribute to their judgements. This process, named actioning, may be accompanied by silencing and a nursing equivalent of regard (gazing). Finally, nursing is portrayed as a bricoleur activity which predates the 'post modem', incorporates the modem, and struggles to express itself within the constraints of a Cartesian Discourse.