Oral Presentation The 26th International Nursing Philosophy Conference 2023

What are we clapping for? A review of the public perception of adult nursing in the UK. (#16)

Brian R Boag 1 , Joan Curzio 2
  1. University of Greenwich, London, LONDON, United Kingdom
  2. College of Education , University of Derby , Derby , United Kingdom

Nursing in the UK has been tied to the image first defined by Florence Nightingale in the 19th century and this has created a distorted image of the work and scope of nursing practice.

Often associated with a romantic ideation of the handmaiden or that of the tough overbearing ward sister the concept of an educated workforce was lost and despite other countries such as the United States introducing a more robust system of education for nursing practice including doctoral programmes from the 1960’s the United Kingdom did not insist on degree entry to the professional register until 2012.

This session will present the findings of a research study that reviewed (N-500 participants) the scope of adult nursing practice and asked the respondents to define what is a nurse? It uses a philosophical prism of pragmatism and seeks to define what is the problem, why is it a problem and how can the change of training programmes ensure that nurses are fit for the next generation of care.

This study was commenced six years ago and since the global pandemic the results and findings of the study have been validated, this coupled with recent political unrest in the United Kingdom has shown that the public in the UK still value the nurse but are equally confused as to the work we do.

Findings include:

  • differential understanding of nursing practice varies in relation to the gender, educational background and age of the participant.
  • The lack of understanding of what nursing practice is.
  • The definition of nursing as a profession or a vocation.
  • Pragmatism as a tool for philosophical enquiry.
  • Pragmatism as a tool to explore the nature of nursing of knowledge.

Key words: Nursing practice; perception; pragmatism as a method of enquiry