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Title: 'Figuring and becoming' : developing identities among beginning nursing students
Author: Butcher, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 6850
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2017
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The contemporary professional context of initial nurse preparation is characterised by multiple and sometimes competing social and historical discourses. It is in this context that beginning nursing students take their early steps on the road to developing identities that will shape their future practice and continued professional development. Unlike much of the existing nursing literature, the study adopts a post-modern perspective towards the nature of identity. Here it is conceived as a relational concept, dynamic and continuously evolving through the production and performance of narratives of experience embedded in cultural and social environments. This thesis examines, in detail, the stories told by five pre-registration nursing students at points throughout the first year of their undergraduate education with the aim of exploring how emergent professional identities are constructed. The study is grounded in the social constructivist approach that recognises the impact of distinct cultural contexts and foregrounds the embodied processes of meaning-making and agency in the negotiation of identity. The study seeks to honour the voices of students in this process. Data was gathered through a series of one-to-one meetings with each participant and supplemented with occasional audio diary recordings and the personal statements used to support their pre-course application. The narrative structure and content of 110 bounded stories were analysed using a multi-dimensional approach designed to reveal the changing identity claims made by individuals. This thesis contributes to understanding of professional identity development in a number of ways. It demonstrates that nursing students begin their nurse preparation with pre-existing and rudimentary images of the profession that serve as frameworks for their interpretation of early clinical and education experiences. Beginning nursing students improvise their identities, telling tales to audiences that include themselves, at the intersection between the Figured Worlds of practice and education. This represents an arena where they author their present and future selves, using individualised and unique stories to buffer conflicts and establish affiliations. Each participant created a rich and detailed compendium of stories that served to positively represent themselves and ‘tell’ themselves into nursing. This small scale study reveals the significant and often untapped potential of nursing students’ stories to establish understanding of identity development. As such they are under-utilised educational and developmental tools that have significant potential for enhancing nurse education.
Supervisor: McGregor, Debra ; De Abreu, Guida Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Nursing ; Nursing education