The specialist nurse : an investigation of the common and distinct aspects of practice

Fairweather, Carrie & Gardner, Glenn E. (2000) The specialist nurse : an investigation of the common and distinct aspects of practice. Collegian, 7(2), pp. 26-33.

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Over the past decade the discipline of nursing has been reviewing its practice, especially in relation to specialty areas. There has been an appreciation by nursing leaders that specialisation brings with it concerns related to a disuniting effect on the discipline and a fragmentation of nursing's traditional generalist practice. Accompanying these concerns is a debate over what is a specialty and how to define a specialist. This qualitative study drew upon a constructivist methodology, to explore how nurses, working in specialty areas, define and give meaning to their practice. Three groups of nurses (n=20) from the specialty of critical care were interviewed using a focus group technique. The data were analysed to build constructions of specialty practice. A distinct and qualitative difference was recognised in the practice behaviours of nurses working in the specialty area. The qualitatively different practice behaviours have been identified as ‘nursing-in-a-specialty’ and ‘specialist nurse’. Two constructions emerged to differentiate the skill behaviours, these were ‘practice’ and ‘knowledge’. The specialist nurse practices were based on two distinct types of practice, that of ‘discretion’ and ‘incorporation’. ‘Knowledge’ was constructed as a synthesis of propositional and practice knowledge.

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ID Code: 56477
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1322-7696
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Deposited On: 17 Jan 2013 00:39
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2013 01:03

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