Discourse Tensions: Professional socialisation into nursing within the university education system

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Starting university brings expectations of new experiences and a good social life (Morton and Tighe, 2011), however student nurse experience may not mirror these expectations. The aim of this study was to identify any indications of ‘differentness’ expressed in students talk, track development and changes in student language over the duration of their programme, and explore how language might situate lecturers and students within a professional socialisation process.

Using Discourse Analysis (Potter and Wetherell, 1987), interviews (n = 17) were conducted with 8 lecturers and 7 volunteer student nurses multiple times over 3 years (April 2013 – August 2016). Analysis uncovered three discourse tensions, each showing resonance with students and their lecturers: The university student and the student nurse; The Nursing and Midwifery Council registrant and the lecturer; Student nurses as consumers of their university education.

Students did not appear to align themselves with the university after experiencing clinical practice, and lecturers' language attempted to position students away from traditional student experiences to protect professional standards.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104478
JournalNurse Education Today
Early online date22 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


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