The National Student Nurses Association: a "professional clinical" arena for learning the culture and values of the nursing profession

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1994
Authors
Logan, Jean
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Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how, or whether, student experiences within the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) relate to internalizing the culture and values of the nursing profession. Six nursing students actively involved in two local NSNA chapters, at a large public midwestern university and a small liberal arts university, were individually interviewed. Eight nursing faculty from the same two universities were interviewed in two focus group sessions;The interview transcripts served as data. Inductive data analysis was completed through the constant comparative process, which consisted of unitizing and categorizing the data. From this process eight themes emerged, which served to exemplify and interpret the data. Trustworthiness was established according to Lincoln and Guba's criteria;Results suggest that students actively involved in the NSNA are learning a wide array of the culture and values of the nursing profession. However, a very small number of students are actively involved in the NSNA, which suggests that only a few students in these two programs learn about nursing's culture and values through the organization;Participation in the NSNA convention was the single most important NSNA activity for learning professionalism and about professional organizations. Findings also indicated three main routes through which students learn in NSNA: (1) experience, (2) involvement, and (3) connections to others. Students tended to use their NSNA learning in the nursing classroom and reciprocally, use their classroom knowledge in the NSNA; NSNA experiences were "woven" into other areas of the students' lives;Student experiences within the two local chapters of NSNA were similar. It is concluded that viewing NSNA as a "professional clinical" arena is a useful way to understand its meaning for nursing students. Nursing faculty are urged to take steps to give more students the opportunity for active involvement in the NSNA. Further qualitative studies of the possible uses of the NSNA, especially as related to formal nursing curriculums, are urgently needed.

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Professional studies, Education
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