Ways of knowing among nurses in continuing professional education

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It is well known that nurses struggle for professional autonomy by deploying various forms of power to alter the division of labour, to gain control over their work, and expand their jurisdictional boundaries. Thus, the international tradition for research in nursing is extensive and increasing. However, the nursing profession is plagued with a theory–practice gap and barriers when it comes to doing research in daily practice is a known challenge. In this study, we draw inspiration from Bourdieu’s theory of cultural reproduction (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990) and the ways in which inequalities are mediated by the education system. The context is nurses’ enrolment in a short-cycle course specially designed as a continuing education programme to increase the research culture in clinical practice. Their final assignment which demonstrates the way nurses draw on the intellectual virtues of episteme, phronesis and techne (Flyvbjerg, 2001) function as our data along with questionnaires enabling us to construct the individual nurse’s dispositions. In our analysis, we focus on how they conceive of knowledge in their profession. What are nurses’ representations of their actions in social practice and how do they orient these practices? We show that nurses draw on various professional ethos and that they have various challenges in terms of academic difficulties with relevance, coherence and criticality. We conclude that the degree to which nurses take phronesis as an organising framework for their professional knowledge and how they make use of theory is related to their dispositions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventBSA medical sociology annual conference 2019 - University of York, York, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Sep 201913 Sep 2019


ConferenceBSA medical sociology annual conference 2019
LocationUniversity of York
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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