Biographical landscapes: nurses' and health visitors' narratives of learning and professional practice


Volante, Margaret Ann 2005. Biographical landscapes: nurses' and health visitors' narratives of learning and professional practice. Thesis University of East London
AuthorsVolante, Margaret Ann

The thesis illuminates biography, learning and practice and advances
understanding of the development of professional knowledge and practice. The
purpose of the research was to inform the pedagogical development of practice
learning using a biographical perspective to investigate how nurses and health
visitors use professional practice experiences to learn and generate knowledge
and understandings of practice. The research is set within the healthcare policy
context of lifelong and lifewide learning.
The literature review builds on my own experiences. An argument is developed for
practice learning to be located within a universal knowledge system that provides
for the subjective and contextual complexity of nursing practice knowledge and
learning. The research strategy is grounded in the theoretical perspectives of
interpretive phenomenology and interaction ism.
Nine specialist community nurses and health visitors participated in the life story
interview of biographical narrative interpretive method. Three transcripts were
selected for in-depth analysis of subjective meanings of learning and professional
practice. Case comparison of biographical process structures shows how
biographies construct a resource for ways of knowing the world that is incorporated
into professional agency.
Five profiles of formal practice learning were accessible for documentary and
textual analysis. Two patterns of orientation were reconstructed from this analysis:
a learning practice constituted as a process of identifying and meeting learning
needs through client-centred practice and public institutions constituted as a
process of support and self-surveillance of the formal learning programme. These
mirror biographical learning resources which seem to both construct professional
knowledge and constitute the practice learning action environment.
Discourse analysis of accounts of client care situations from follow-up narrative
interviews with four nurses and two health visitors showed continuity of how
individuals learn and do the process of knowing practice through their own
personal theories-of-practice.
Thematic analysis across the findings has led to the creation of a model of
biography, learning and practice and utilises the concept of biographicity to inform
pedagogical development of practice learning. The research makes a significant
contribution to the body of knowledge on implicit, non-formal and formal learning
and the development of professional knowledge at a micro practice action level of
client-professional interaction.

Keywordsnurses and health visitors; lifelong learning; professional practice experiences
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Deposited11 May 2011
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This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

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