AbstractPersonal concepts of registered nurses’ roles in England are rarely described. The disparity between internalised personal concepts of professional nursing and the actual work nurses are asked to do causes a variety of tensions. To prevent discontinuities, nurses rely on successful stratagems to overcome these tensions, especially when under operational, economic and political pressures. This thesis provides empirical evidence of personal concepts of nursing, related tensions as well as successful stratagems operating in the nursing profession.
The personal concepts of nursing and related tensions are analysed within the concept of professionalisation, then categorised using a novel approach, a ‘Q’ methodology. The ‘Q’ methodology is a survey-based cluster quanta-qualitative approach that is used to study operant subjectivity. Stephenson (1935) was first to define subjectivity as a non-mental construct, a set of conjectures or viewpoints based on personal experiences and reason. In becoming operant, such subjectivity becomes behaviourist and results in certain behaviours, actions, or practice.
‘Q’ methodology generated six types of personal concepts of nursing. Humanitarian Nurse- a proud professional, Assertive Nurse- a principled expert, Conscientious Nurse- an ethical partner, Vocational Nurse- a compliant employee, Collected Nurse- a purposeful instrument and Caring Nurse- a front-liner. Each type lives with specific tensions. In response to tensions, eleven stratagems were identified, for example, Mediation, Inconspicuous concealment or Conspicuous achievement. These results are regarded as a first attempt to show nursing in a way that has not been done before. Whilst generalisations across the entire nursing profession cannot be made, this empirical research has shown that such personal concepts of nursing currently operate within nursing, be it related to the participants in this research. This research unique contribution to knowledge lies in drawing out the description of personal concepts of nursing, tensions and the stratagems from nurses themselves. These findings show some disparity between nurses’ personal concepts of nursing and the concepts promulgated by nursing stakeholders, affecting professionalisation in nursing.
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