Ousey, Karen (2006) Learning to be a real nurse. In: The 2006 International Nursing Research Conference, 21-24 March 2006, York Racecourse, York. (Unpublished)

This paper will discuss and explore the findings
of a qualiatative piece of research that used the
two main principles of ethnography and case
study. Unstructured interviews and observation
techniques were used to collect the data. The
research was undertaken within a school of
nursing in the North-West of England and one of
its associated NHS Trusts based on a social group
of 15 student nurses undertaking adult branch
studies; 15 mentors; 8 ward managers; 1 practice
development co-ordinator and 1 senior nurse for
practice development.
The impetus for the research was the implementation
of a newly developed student nurse training
and education curriculum using recommendations
contatined in the Peach Report (UKCC,1999) and
the strategy of Problem Based Learning (PBL)as
the main teaching and learning method. The data
suggests that the new curriculum and PBL has
offered some solutions to help students overcome
the boundaries of professionalism, power, inequalities
and culture but has by no means provided all
the answers.
A fundamental finding of the research was the
students nurses’ perceptions of the definintion
of ‘being a real nurse’. The student nurses argue
through their interviews that that although it is
important to learn about the holistic needs of the
patients, the qualified practitioners do not always
engage in this type of activity on a daily basis.
Rather that their role is that of an assessor, planner,
evaluator and manager, with the role of the unregistered
staff being to deliver ‘hands on’ care. This
study is important for both academics and practitioners
as it identifies the need for the profession
to reevaluate the role of the qualified practitioner
and ensure that the nurse training and education
curriculum meets the ever changing needs of the

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