"In the pipeline" : a qualitative study of general nurse training
This thesis reports on the exploration of a problem in nurse training, the failure of nurses to fulfil a health education role. This problem is explored using a qualitative methodology which incorporates unstructured Interviewing and participant observation. The study population comprised both student nurses and significant others in the hospital setting. The study is particularly concerned with the experiences of the student nurse as she progresses through training. Because she is both learner and worker, her experiences both in the wards and the school of nursing are considered. These experiences are explored within the framework of occupational socialization studies, with the assumption that both 'objective' and 'subjective' reality must be explored if the socialization process is to be understood. Although a framework for reporting is imposed in constructing this account of training, a theoretical model is not imposed in the process of data collection or data assembly. Data are presented in such a way that student nurses are allowed to 'tell their story'. This study identifies a hidden curriculum in the hospital training schools studied. Accounts suggest that student nurses experience powerlessness, uncertainty and depersonalization; this experience is conceptualized as 'pipeline status'. It is suggested that this results in a compliance and a conformity on the part of individuals as they depend on existing structures and routines to 'get-by'. This 'pipeline status' has repercussions for health education and indeed for any development of the nursing role as it prepares the nurse for a very specific work role in a particular type of organization. The report concludes with a discussion of the implications of 'pipeline status' for a nursing role In health education and for the future training of nurses.