Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Reconstructing a new story of nursing: Critical analysis of nursing textbooks using Riane Eisler's partnership paradigm
by Potter, Teddie Michelle, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2010, 306; 3447086
Abstract (Summary)

Paradigms and stories shape our perception of the world around us; they frame the past and suggest possible futures. Nursing fundamental textbooks initiate socialization for and profoundly impact the self-identity and practice of future nurses; therefore, the paradigms and ideologies within the texts must be critically evaluated. Chapters describing the history of nursing offer powerful stories and images that initiate the development of nursing identity in novices.

Currently, nursing is defined by the needs of healthcare systems, but ideological messages confuse nursing identity and diminish the healing potential of nurses. This loss of identity promotes powerlessness and decreases meaning and career satisfaction, contributing to attrition and the critical shortage of nurses.

Social theorist Riane Eisler (1987, 2002) describes human history as a persistent conflict between two paradigms or patterns of social organization. Her cultural transformation theory identifies ideological differences between dominator and partnership paradigms.

The first objective of the present study was to determine if nursing fundamental textbooks in the United States use the story of the history of nursing to support a dominator paradigm. The history of nursing was critiqued in eight current nursing fundamental textbooks. Content and narrative analysis revealed that dominator values and themes were consistently used while partnership themes were weak or absent.

The second objective of the study was to reconstruct a new story of nursing by illuminating historic exemplars of partnership and collaboration. Recent nursing research has demonstrated patient outcomes improve with implementation of collaborative care yet, new nurses have limited exposure to models of collaboration.

The writings of Mary Seacole (1857/2005), Lillian Wald (1915), Margaret Sanger (1923/1971), Sister Elizabeth Kenny (Kenny & Ostenso, 1943), and others were analyzed for themes that support partnership and collaboration. Content analysis revealed other themes including the interconnection of humans and nature, the importance of a global perspective, the use of multiple ways of knowing, the value of astute observation, and the necessity for medicine to be individualized. Recovering lost threads of the nursing story will improve self-identity and empower nurses to be active partners in the creation and delivery of sustainable models of healthcare.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Clark, Carey
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Nursing, Curriculum development
Keywords: Collaboration, Nursing textbooks
Publication Number: 3447086
ISBN: 978-1-124-51028-6
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