Knowledge, power, and nursing education in New Zealand : a critical analysis of the construction of the nursing identity
Papps , Elaine
Formalised nursing education programmes in hospitals which lead to registration as a nurse commenced in New Zealand following the enactment of the Nurses Registration Act 1901. This system of education, which continued for some seventy years, constructed the nursing identity within the discourses of gender and medicine. The relocation of nursing education into the tertiary education sector which commenced during the 1970s disrupted this dominant view of the nurse. This thesis describes and critically analyses the construction of the nursing identity through curriculum and social relations of power. Michel Foucault's view of power and his power/knowledge problematic is a major component of the critical analysis. The analysis draws heavily on the work of Foucault to unmask power relations which discursively position the nurse in the discourses of medicine and gender. Foucault's notion of governmentality is used to illustrate the existence of technologies of domination and technologies of power which discursively constitute the nurse. New forms of knowledge construct the nursing identity through different discourses. The insights of critical theorists are employed to illustrate the influence of the emancipatory intent of these discourses. Sociopolitical forces which intersect with nursing education act to subjugate knowledge not associated with the dominant view of nurse and nursing. Perceptions continue to exist that nurses and nursing are associated with technical activity. Despite the struggle for the nursing profession to define the nurse according to how it sees appropriate, there are micropolitics of power which operate to sustain the dominant view of nurses. However, nurses implicate themselves in the creation of their subjectivity, and are themselves agents in creating their own identities. This suggests that there are possibilities for the nurse to resist being defined by others.
Advisor: Olssen, Mark
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Education
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis