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Emergency care and narrative knowledge


Stuart Nairn, University of Nottingham, Derby Education Centre, Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, London Road, Derby DE1 2QY, UK.


Background.  Nursing knowledge is a composite of many influences. In an attempt to strengthen nursing knowledge and practice, there have been significant developments in the codification of nursing knowledge as part of the evidence-based practice movement. Using established research techniques; this has the capacity to enhance clinical practice. However, not all knowledge can be incorporated into this type of academic discourse, and there is growing interest in narrative knowledge. This paper contributes to this sometimes implicit and sometimes explicit critique of dominant paradigms.

Aim.  The aim of this paper is to examine the usefulness of narrative as a means of exploring the world of emergency nursing practice and its contribution to the emotional lifeworld of clinicians.

Method.  A discourse analysis of nursing narratives in their natural settings was carried out. This involved exploration of stories that were not produced for the purposes of research.

Findings.  Narratives can open up social worlds, which escape or be deliberately erased by more formal methods. Contingent and subversive knowledge can contribute to understanding the emotional impact of emergency care.

Conclusion.  These narratives have their own ‘truth’, which should be incorporated into an understanding of what constitutes the lifeworld of emergency nurses.