Self Awareness in Nursing

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Nurse educators are charged with teaching student nurses how to become self-aware and to use this knowledge therapeutically and in leadership activities. Self-awareness has been widely accepted as an important part of contemporary nurses' repertoire of skills and has been said to be an important factor in a successful nurse-patient relationship. It has been identified as a factor in empathy, supporting the notion that self-awareness leads to a gentler way of being and compassion results. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence related to how students actually develop self-awareness within the context of nursing education. This qualitative study focused on describing the elements of who, what, where, when, and how which influence the development of self-awareness in nursing students. Purposive sampling was used and data collection through two in-depth, face-to-face, audiotaped interviews continued until saturation occurred. Guided by naturalistic inquiry and interview research, ten baccalaureate nursing students described how they developed self-awareness as part of their nursing education program and identified the contributing contextual features. Through content analysis categories of external and internal influences on self-awareness development within the context of nursing education emerged. The process of self-awareness development was identified as occurring within the context of both interpersonal and intrapersonal interactions. External factors which influence self-awareness development include socially and emotionally significant relationships, facilitative actions of others, transformative events, and pedagogy. Internal factors that emerged include religion/spirituality, and personality/developmental issues. These findings have heuristic value for enhancing self-awareness development within the context of nursing education. The nurse educator can use these findings to understand the influencing factors (internal and external), and the best...
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