Educating for a profession: a phenomenological case study of professional practice preparation for nursing from a sociocultural perspective

PhD Thesis


Press, Nona Ida. 2017. Educating for a profession: a phenomenological case study of professional practice preparation for nursing from a sociocultural perspective. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/5c085b46d8a88
Title

Educating for a profession: a phenomenological case study of professional practice preparation for nursing from a sociocultural perspective

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorPress, Nona Ida
SupervisorDanaher, Patrick
Rossi, Dolene
Graham, Coralie
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages333
Year2017
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/5c085b46d8a88
Abstract

This thesis reports a study concerning a professional education program and involving 61 members of a cohort of nursing students and 13 nursing academic staff members
working at a multi-campus university in Australia. The goal of the study was to investigate the essence of lived experiences in professional practice preparation, to
construct theoretical understandings of the relevance of such experiences to future practice. Using the education of nurses at an Australian university as a case study, the
research investigated the problem, 'What does it mean to prepare for professional
practice?'

The theoretical framework that informed the study engaged with complementary constructs of learning and development from a sociocultural perspective, and professional education, as understood through the thinking, respectively, of Lev Vygotsky (1978) and his followers, and Lee Shulman (2005) and his colleagues. The methodological approach deployed phenomenological case study research - a fusion of hermeneutic phenomenology and case study methodologies, specifically conceived for this investigation. Visual, written, spoken and observed data were analysed using an approach called a phenomenological case study data analysis spiral, also purposely
developed for this research. Such methodological and analytical approaches enabled access to the complex and often tacit nature of the phenomenon under investigation,
and they provided a means of interpreting participants’ lived experiences of preparing for professional practice.

The thesis explicated the social conditions needed and the distinctive characteristics of learning contexts that shaped and facilitated the students’ learning of professionally valued understandings, skills and dispositions. Four interrelated themes were revealed in
the study, which represented key elements that influenced and enhanced the preparation of students for professional practice, namely: 1) the student and his/her personal qualities influenced educational outcomes; 2) bounding aspects of regulatory importance influenced the make up and administration of an academic program; 3) the social
environment influenced and enhanced the learning journeys of students; and 4) domainspecific pedagogies influenced and enriched the professional formation of students. All
four themes were interrelated and represented an aggregate of all participants’ interpretations and elements that they experienced as embodying their experiences of preparing for professional practice. Each theme contributed to a deeper understanding of the significance of experiences of preparing for professional practice at university, and
the significance of such experiences for the contemporary enactment of professional practice in a professional field.

The thesis presented a sociocultural view of preparing for professional practice that may be used to develop further the process of engaging in professional practice
preparation and, more broadly, the professional development of not only students but also of teachers and clinical facilitators.

KeywordsAustralian universities, communities of practice, data analysis spiral, higher education curriculum, nurse education, methodological fusion, pedagogies for the profession, phenomenological case study, practice fields, professional education, signature pedagogies, sociocultural theory
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390110. Medicine, nursing and health curriculum and pedagogy
Byline AffiliationsLearning and Teaching Support Unit
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