Valuing the gap: a dialectic between theory and practice in graduate nursing education from a constructive educational approach

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Moss, Cheryle
Grealish, Laurie
Lake, Sarah
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2010
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Abstract

Within nursing education, graduate pedagogies are relatively unexplored, with research commonly focused upon undergraduate and continuing education. In order to address the increasingly complex organisational challenges in the workplace, mid-career nurses and midwives are turning to graduate education. In one graduate course on cultures of learning in the workplace, a constructivist approach to learning was adopted. Post-course analysis of data, from the feedback on the course from students, student choice of assignment topics, and reflections of the course facilitators, revealed three pedagogies unique to graduate education. The pedagogies were labelled 'keeping the space open', 'theoretical concepts as tools', and 'resonance and action as praxis'. The intended outcome of the course is revealed in a fourth theme, 'developing practice in the workplace'. This evaluation suggests that constructivist pedagogies used with graduate students may be different to those pedagogies used with undergraduate and continuing education students. We argue that graduate pedagogies move nursing education beyond strategies that seek integration of theory and practice, towards a dialectic between theory and practice.

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Nurse Education Today

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30

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4

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Nursing

Nursing not elsewhere classified

Curriculum and pedagogy

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