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My mentor kicked a dying woman's bed…’ Analysing UK nursing students’ ‘most memorable’ professionalism dilemmas

Rees, Charlotte E., Monrouxe, Lynn Valerie and McDonald, Laura A. 2014. My mentor kicked a dying woman's bed…’ Analysing UK nursing students’ ‘most memorable’ professionalism dilemmas. Journal of Advanced Nursing 71 (1) , pp. 169-180. 10.1111/jan.12457

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Aim To provide depth and breadth in the analysis of nursing students’ written narratives of ‘most memorable’ professionalism dilemmas. Background While nursing students are taught professionalism through formal curricula, they commonly experience workplace‐based professionalism dilemmas. Although non‐UK studies have begun to explore students’ lived experiences of dilemmas, they lack detail about when and where dilemmas occur, who is involved, what students do and why and how students feel. Design Online survey of healthcare students including 294 nursing students from 15 UK nursing schools. Method Nursing students provided a written narrative of their most memorable dilemma (December 2011–March 2012) as part of a survey examining the impact of professionalism dilemmas on moral distress. We conducted thematic and discourse analysis of all narratives and narrative analysis of one exemplar. Findings The most common themes were patient care dilemmas by healthcare personnel or students, student abuse and consent dilemmas. Of the dilemmas, 49·6% occurred over 6 months previously, 76·2% occurred in hospitals and 51·9% of perpetrators were nurses. 79·3% of students reported acting in the face of their dilemma. Of the narratives, 88·4% contained negative emotion talk and numerous significant relationships existed between types of emotion talk and dilemmas. Our narrative analysis demonstrates the impact of dilemma experiences through emotion talk and more subtle devices like metaphor. Conclusion Findings extend previous research with nursing and medical students. Nurse educators should help students construct emotionally coherent narratives to make sense of their experiences, actions and identities and to better prepare them for future professionalism dilemmas.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Additional Information: Article first published online 10 June 2014
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0309-2402
Date of Acceptance: 10 May 2014
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 02:49

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