22 SES 08 C, Academic Work and Professional Development
During the last twenty years, nursing education in Portugal has undergone a number of changes: incorporation within the national education system; structural and organisational changes; curriculum change; reforms in teacher training; new academic pedagogical and management bodies and new teaching models.
In Portuguese law, the duties of nursing teachers that form part of the regulatory framework are outlined in the professional statutes for higher education teaching staff.
The sociology of work, the professional development of teachers in higher education as a process cutting across practices which incorporates professional values and ideals and contributes to clarify the changes occurred in education (Zabalza, 2002; Almeida, 2005).
This study seeks to identify the impact of the changes in higher education and in nursing education and their influence in the practice of nurse teachers. This paper is a part of a wider study about teacher professionalism. It is supported with a theoretical framework, which focuses on the need for research as supplying new role for teachers, resulting from the paradigm change in higher education within the teaching profession.
The conceptual framework is based on the changes that occur in nursing education in Portugal, due to its inclusion in the European area of higher education and those resulting from the reorganization of nursing schools and their relationships with professional contexts, justify studying the professionalism of nursing teachers.
In the literature on nursing education, a typology has emerged as presented in 1998 by the Australian Nurse Teachers Society (ANTS), which establishes nursing teacher competency standards, reinforcing the joint work of these professionals with their peers in terms of the development of research and its dissemination, through the development of work in national and international networks. The research of Benner (2001) based on the competencies of nurses through the development of various stages of proficiency required for nursing practice, has provided input for the development of the roles of teachers. The research of Davis et al., 2005; Krisman-Scott et al., 1998, which carried out an in depth to clarify the changes in the roles of nurse educators, discovering essential competencies for these professionals which were later included as criteria for education in advanced courses in nursing, is a contribute to clarify several changes in competencies in nursing education which have also been redefined in a number of European countries to develop the consolidation of specific skills for nurse educators, at the level of pedagogic activity, research and dissemination of knowledge (FINE, 2007).
In Portugal it has been recognized that within higher education there is now a new role that the teacher is called upon to fulfill, with a professional profile which incorporates traditional skills (teaching and research) with other new wide-ranging competencies.
In this regard this research seeks to characterize the nursing teacher’s concepts on their professionalism, roles, competences and their identities construction and to analyze how changes in higher education and in the teaching of nursing are reflected in the conceptions of teaching and pedagogical practices and how teacher professionalism indicates a transition in the complex reality of professional nursing and teaching. The teachers' professionalism presupposes an ideal of public service, ethical, personal, professional awareness, guiding values for the professionality, understood as a set of competences comprising knowledge, attitudes and skills required for the professional performance (Estrela, 2001; Gewirtz et al. 2009).
Accordingly, the new roles of nurse educators include the carrying out of research and its relevance to the activity of teaching underlying which are self-efficacy at work and professional development revealing research-based thinking action in teaching and clinical practice, intended to meet the challenges of the reorganisation of higher public nursing schools in Portugal.
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