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Discussing philosophy of nursing as means to articulating and critiquing disciplinary thoughts related to nursing

Conference contribution
Authors Linda Åhlström
Ida Björkman
Josephine T. V. Greenbrook
Joakim Öhlén
Published in Oral presentation at the 22nd International Philosophy of Nursing Conference (IPONS) in Galway, Irland, August 23-25, 2018
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
University of Gothenburg Centre for person-centred care (GPCC)
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Language en
Keywords Nursing, Nursing philosophy, Higher education
Subject categories Nursing


In this presentation we will share reflections of an initiative within an interdisciplinary nursing faculty to create a safe space for junior faculty members to have critical discussions about nursing as a subject and an area for teaching. The purpose is to present the format for the ‘safe space’ created as well as examples of critical remarks about nursing generated in these discussions. First, some features of the context for our nursing faculty will be highlighted. Interdisciplinarity is a central characteristic. Research and the doctoral education programme are organized interdisciplinary – which is common elsewhere too – however the undergraduate and master’s programme is primarily built up by courses in nursing. In Sweden, nursing disciplinary discussions has for the last decades been framed by a discussion focusing on nursing science versus caring science. Secondly, the format for the course and seminars offered for junior faculty members will be presented including philosophy of nursing texts. Thirdly, examples of the critical remarks raised in the discussions will focus on an often mentioned problematic ‘theory–practice gap’ in the nursing discourse. This gap will be questioned as problematic, while tensions between theory (research, education) and practice can be necessary and fruitful. Finally, we will share a few experiential outcomes of the discussions, which could be summarized as participating in a think tank. The notion that nursing is hard to define, was something the participants had become more confident with and incorporated in their disciplinary views as well as embracing a sense of both proudness and a critical stance to the heritage of nursing knowledge tradition.

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