22 SES 04 D, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
Parallel Paper Session
The traditional problem of relating theory and practice is particularly relevant in the helping professions (Hugman, 2005), as is the case of nursing and nurse education (Andrew and Robb, 2010; Payne, Walker, Jarrett and Smith, 2011) and it gained a special edge with the changes in higher education coming from the requirements of the so called Bologna process.
Having gone through a strong process of professionalization, especially in Portugal in the last 25 years of the 20th century, nursing has given considerable steps towards the consolidation of the unique nature of its professional knowledge and, therefore, in its social status. One of the most obvious aspects of this process of professionalisation has been the raising of the certification level of nurse education courses. This upgrade had two opposed results: on the one hand, a vocational training model was designed, which was based on the problems of the profession, on practice, on partnerships between nursing schools and workplaces, and on reflection and research (A. Pereira, 2008; Lima, 2010); on the other hand, the calls for professionalization may threaten the practical character of nurse education by over-emphasising its academic character. This ‘academisation effect’ can be due to the images that institutions of higher education have of their mission and particularly to the way by which the nurse educators define themselves and their training roles (Conway & Elwin, 2006), especially if identities are conceptualised as emerging from the interaction among individual biographies and the characteristics of the contexts.
This paper presents and discusses exploratory data collected as part of a research project on initial education of helping professionals (teachers and nurses) and the educators’ identities, aiming to provide means for further more comprehensive and accurate data collection on nurse educators’ identities.
The conceptualisation of nurse educators’ identities puts together three theoretical perspectives: the Dubar’s (2006) notion of professional identities construction, the Marisa Zavalloni’s notion of psychosocial identity (Louis-Guérin & Zavalloni, 1984); and the notion of situated identity (Hewitt, 1991, Wiley & Alexander, 1987).
Professional identities construction is conceptualised by Claude Dubar (1995, 2006) as a socialization process that puts together the individual and their life contexts. It is an ever provisional result of a double transaction: the transaction of the individual with himself (the biographical one) and the transaction between the individual and their development scenarios (the relational one).
Psychosocial identity within the theoretical framework of Marisa Zavalloni (Louis-Guérin & Zavalloni, 1984) focuses mutual social groups’ representations considering the individual within the social ecology to understand the principles of the constitution of meaning.
Situated identity refers to the organisation of different identities of an individual, personal and social, within a situation, and relates with the definitions, roles and identifications of the individuals in the concrete work situation, expressing therefore the situation itself. In general, nurse educators’ identities are considered as an outcome of a continuous process of negotiation between wishes, opportunities and constraints.
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