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A paradigm for the production of practice-based knowledge


  • ‘No one owns science. If we wish to make informed choices, we must never forget that science exists because people created it, and it cannot exist separate from the community. Behind all the …professional degrees, the idea of science – our long effort to understand nature – and the knowledge that radiates from that search, are part of our shared human heritage’ (Ede & Cormack 2004, p. 420).

Pamela G. Reed
College of Nursing
University of Arizona
1302 N Martin St
AZ 85721-0203


Aim  The aim of this paper was to explore trends, arguments and issues surrounding knowledge production and nursing practice, and to propose a paradigm of practice-based knowledge along with strategies to promote theory-based knowledge development in practice.

Background  Practice-based knowledge has been marginalized in the current practice and research paradigms. Several reasons for this are presented, some of which may be addressed to facilitate a more inclusive approach to knowledge that can potentially advance patient care and the discipline.

Evaluation  Classic and contemporary scholarly sources in nursing, philosophy, education, social sciences and other areas were critically reviewed and applied to support the argument and propose a paradigm of practice-based knowledge production.

Key issues  A key point identified in the paper is that theory, meaning conceptualizations at all levels of abstraction, is an important tool of knowledge development in nursing practice as it is in traditional research.

Conclusions  Various strategies exist that can be employed to promote development and use of practice-based knowledge in the clinical setting. The strategies are innovative yet practical, and require the support and encouragement of nursing management for their successful implementation.

Implications for Nursing Management  Nursing managers can influence if not facilitate all of the strategies to promote practice-based knowledge development identified in the paper. These efforts could give voice to the caregiver’s knowledge and, in turn, enhance patient care and the satisfaction and retention of nurses.