What is a nurse?
MetadataShow full item record
Session presented on Thursday, July 21, 2016 and Friday, July 22, 2016: Purpose: The purpose of reflective learning is widely accepted to improve personal and intellectual growth. This educational assessment piece was set to garner critical reflection from post graduate students enrolled in a Master's program. What nurses do with regard to patient outcomes is increasingly documented especially with regards to safety and quality (Aiken et al, 2014) yet what nurses are, in the sense of what is understood by their role in the contemporary healthcare system is not clear. Recently, a Miss America contestant (2015) chose to 'perform' in the talent section of the competition, 'costumed' in her nursing scrubs complete with stethoscope around her neck and described her 'talent' as a nurse. What the contestant said about nursing created controversy but paved discussion on 'What is a nurse?' Methods: Post-graduate students within two units of a Master's degree were questioned via an assessment item on their insights of what being a nurse is in contemporary healthcare, to challenge their understanding of their own role and to address the public understanding of the role of a nurse. Results: 'Viewing nursing as merely the selfless care of the sick is unimaginative' wrote Girvin (2015, p.1) in her editorial concerning the public understanding of nursing and the call for change. The outcomes of this educational research project illuminate the view of members of the profession of itself, allowing a discourse on the issues pertinent to nursing today whilst contemporising an assessment item for postgraduate students which tests their ability to be critical of their own reflections on what it is to be a nurse and part of the profession that is nursing. Conclusion: This presentation argues for the need for specific reflection on what it is to be a nurse in contemporary healthcare and of critical reflection and its crucial role for post graduate students in academic settings today.