Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The construction of professional identity in undergraduate pre-registration student nurses
Author: Sargent, Andrew James
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 0930
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Background: Recent changes to nurse education, and public scrutiny of the nursing profession, has led to an increasing interest in the preparation of student nurses for professional practice. Central to the advances in professional practice is the development of a professional identity that accurately reflects the role of the nurse and the function of the profession. Existing research into socialisation of student nurses are primarily introspective and offer insights into microsocial processes involved in nurse education. There is a paucity of research that explores the impact of macrosocial constructions of nursing that influence socialisation and establish professional identity. Methods: A constructivist grounded theory approach was used to explore undergraduate student nurse's perceptions of nursing's professional identity, throughout the pre-registration programme. First, second and third-year student nurses from two UK nursing faculties (n=63) took part in one of 12 focus groups. Students were subsequently invited for an individual interview in the following year of the programme (n=23). The data were coded and analysed. Subsequent analysis of the data was undertaken by the examining Macro, meso and microsocial processes that the students described. Results- Students revealed a dualism between the identity of professional nurses, and of the nursing profession. They had a strong commitment to the professional requirements of commitment, caring and compassion; characteristics that represent authenticity with their self-concept. However, they described the identity of the profession as being passive, powerless and bound to its historical image. Students described the conflicting identities of "being part of a new generation" whilst simultaneously being required to align themselves to outdated stereotypes of nurses and nursing. Analysis demonstrated how macrosocial processes influenced students' Individual Professional Identity (IPI) prior to commencing the programme. However, their ideas of nursing's Professional Role Identity (PRI) was re-orientated over the 3 years of the programme, as they attempted to reconcile conflicting identities. These conflicts were compounded by a public discourse that constructs nursing as failing in its duty to care for patients and having lost sight of its roots as 'the caring profession'. Results: Students perceptions of the nursing profession are constructed from broad social influences that shape their professional identity. The ideas that construct their professional identity are developed prior to their entry to the programme and remain stable throughout the 3 years. A historical discourse of the nursing profession, that is founded upon nursing's vocational roots and portrays nurses as passive and powerless, conflicts with a contemporary discourse that portrays nurses as highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals, that are at the forefront of healthcare provision. Social constructionism reveals a new interpretation of professional identity and the discourses that come to bear on student nurses during the pre-registration undergraduate programme.
Supervisor: Gillett, Karen Lesley ; Maben, Jill Elizabeth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available