Traditions and practice — nursing theory and political philosophy
Keith Cash points out that nursing theories tacitly presuppose or stipulate some conception of what nursing is. His claim is that such theories have not yet been successful and that this is, in part, due to their omitting to consider appropriately the question of what nursing is. Cash proposes that one fruitful way of conceiving of nursing is as a practice in the sense of that term explicated by MacIntyre (1985). In MacIntyres account, the identities of practices are anchored in their histories, in tradition. Furthermore, it is argued that practices have certain characteristic, unifying features. For example, they embody a shared conception of what ‘good practice’ within the practice consists of Hence, participants in a practice can be expected to share certain values and recognise certain virtues. Also, ways of resolving disputes within the practice (what Cash terms ‘argumentation conditions’) are characteristically recognised. So members of a unified practice can be expected to apply similar criteria for the recognition of problems within the practice and also for the resolution of such problems. Agreement in argumentation conditions means that members of a practice will be in a position to reach agreement concerning when a problem has arisen within the practice, how a problem can be posed and what will count as its resolution. Thus, a unified practice has resources within it which can resolve problems.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Benner, P. (1984) From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice (Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley).Google Scholar
- Cash, K. (1992) Formal models, tacit knowledge and expertise in psychiatric nursing, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Manchester, Manchester.Google Scholar
- Dreyfus, H. and Dreyfus, S.E. (1985) Mind Over Machine (New York: Free Press).Google Scholar
- Fawcett, J. (1980) A framework for analysis and evaluation of conceptual models of nursing, Nurse Educator, Nov–Dec: 10–13.Google Scholar
- Giddens, A. (1996) Politics, Sociology and Social Theory (Oxford: Polity Press).Google Scholar
- Kaufman, C. (1978) History of the Alexian Brothers: Ministry of Healing, vol. 2 (New York: Livingstone).Google Scholar
- MacIntyre, A. (1985) After Virtue, 2nd edn (London: Duckworth).Google Scholar
- Oakley, A. (1985) The Sociology of Housework (New York: Basil Blackwell).Google Scholar
- Wright, C.J. and Hearn, J. (1993) The invisible man in nursing, Paper presented at the International Conference on Nursing, Women’s History and the Politics of Welfare, University of Nottingham, 21–24 July.Google Scholar