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Sustaining self: moving beyond the unexpected realities of teaching in practice

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PATON BI. Nursing Inquiry 2005; 12: 51–59

Sustaining self: moving beyond the unexpected realities of teaching in practice

Nurse educators who teach undergraduate students in clinical practice frequently encounter, or are thrown into situations that interrupt smooth activity, pausing to make sense of what is going on in order to respond in a manner that is consistent with their professional beliefs and values. In moving towards, within and beyond this interruption in smooth activity, identified within this research as an Unready-to-Hand immersion, these educators create a matrix of situational knowing and wisdom that surrounds propositional knowing. In striving to clarify the knowing that informs the clinical nurse educator's response to unexpected situations, I referred to philosophical literature on tacit knowledge, practice wisdom, smooth activity and the Unready-to-Hand mode of engagement. I carried out an interpretive research project involving reflections on personal experiences followed by two layers of interviewing with nurse educators teaching students in practice. The first layer of individual interviews was with eight nurse educators who in their role experienced Unready-to-Hand immersions. The second layer involved of three of these eight participants who chose to continue with more in-depth, unstructured interviews. One participant not involved in the original set of interviews approached me individually and asked to participate in the in-depth interviews, which they did. An interpretive analysis of these nurse educators’ stories illuminated Unready-to-Hand as Adventure, highlighting the elements of attuning to difference, the domains of practice within Unready-to-Hand and three modes of unknowing. This paper focuses on one of the domains of practice: sustaining self.
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Keywords: Unready-to-Hand; clinical practice; nurse educators; sustaining self

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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