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Advancing nursing practice: redefining the theoretical and practical integration of knowledge

Authors

  • Martin Christensen

    1. Author:Martin Christensen, RGN, DipN, PGCert, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD, Senior Lecturer (Critical Care), Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK
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Martin Christensen, Senior Lecturer (Critical Care), Bournemouth University, Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH1 3LT, UK. Telephone: 01202961775.
E-mail: mchristensen@bournemouth.ac.uk

Abstract

Aim.  The aim of this paper is to offer an alternative knowing-how knowing-that framework of nursing knowledge, which in the past has been accepted as the provenance of advanced practice.

Background.  The concept of advancing practice is central to the development of nursing practice and has been seen to take on many different forms depending on its use in context. To many it has become synonymous with the work of the advanced or expert practitioner; others have viewed it as a process of continuing professional development and skills acquisition. Moreover, it is becoming closely linked with practice development. However, there is much discussion as to what constitutes the knowledge necessary for advancing and advanced practice, and it has been suggested that theoretical and practical knowledge form the cornerstone of advanced knowledge.

Design.  The design of this article takes a discursive approach as to the meaning and integration of knowledge within the context of advancing nursing practice.

Method.  A thematic analysis of the current discourse relating to knowledge integration models in an advancing and advanced practice arena was used to identify concurrent themes relating to the knowing-how knowing-that framework which commonly used to classify the knowledge necessary for advanced nursing practice.

Conclusion.  There is a dichotomy as to what constitutes knowledge for advanced and advancing practice. Several authors have offered a variety of differing models, yet it is the application and integration of theoretical and practical knowledge that defines and develops the advancement of nursing practice. An alternative framework offered here may allow differences in the way that nursing knowledge important for advancing practice is perceived, developed and coordinated.

Relevance to clinical practice.  What has inevitably been neglected is that there are various other variables which when transposed into the existing knowing-how knowing-that framework allows for advanced knowledge to be better defined. One of the more notable variables is pattern recognition, which became the focus of Benner’s work on expert practice. Therefore, if this is included into the knowing-how knowing-that framework, the knowing-how becomes the knowledge that contributes to advancing and advanced practice and the knowing-that becomes the governing action based on a deeper understanding of the problem or issue.

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