In at the deep end: the culture of nursing research in a paediatric ward

Smyth, Wendy (2008) In at the deep end: the culture of nursing research in a paediatric ward. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

PDF (Thesis whole)
Download (3MB)
PDF (Thesis front)
Download (208kB)


This doctoral thesis reports a critical ethnographic study conducted in the Children’s Ward of a regional Australian hospital. The study explored the factors affecting the responses of nurses to the expectation that they would conduct research, and utilise research findings in their clinical practice. It identifies a multitude of facilitative and inhibiting factors affecting their responses, including conceptual, attitudinal and practical factors manifested at personal, local, institutional and broader socio-cultural levels. The critical qualitative methodology of Carspecken was used to structure the conceptualisation and conduct of the research, and a critical Habermasian standpoint was taken when interpreting the findings. Subsequent to an extensive literature review, data was gathered from a wide range of sources, including: non-participant observation; interviews; local documentation; policy statements and directives at ward, institutional and state level; participation in ward-based working groups and the video- and audio-recordings of those meetings. The data suggested that almost all the nurses adopted a worldview in which science is considered authoritative and has legitimacy in all aspects of life, and conceived research as a justifiable expression of this authority. An alternative discourse threaded its way through the ward, in which science was seen as having only partial relevance or legitimacy and a need for other considerations was expressed. This gave rise to a conflict which was also manifested in the nurses’ self-understandings and social identities. Conflicting assumptions and demands were associated with the nurses’ various professional and personal roles. Strategies that the nurses employed to manage the tensions that arose from these conflicts were identified and their influence on the likelihood of developing research-mindedness and successful participation in research were considered. Arising from this analysis, recommendations are made which offer a constructive path forward and which should enhance the future of the conduct and implementation of research in the ward and in the wider context of the hospital.

Item ID: 2137
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: nursing research, research culture, critical ethnography, critical qualitative research, Carspecken, critical theory, scientific method, identity, cultural practice, discourse, children’s wards, nurse clinicians, nurses, attitudes, assumptions
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2009 02:33
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified @ 0%
Downloads: Total: 1799
Last 12 Months: 25
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page