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Mistrust of academic knowledge among nurses in Slovenia


Barbara Domajnko, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Tel: +386-1-300-11-97; Fax: +386-1-300-11-19; E-mail:


DOMAJNKO B. & PAHOR M. Mistrust of academic knowledge among nurses in Slovenia. International Nursing Review57, 305–311

Aim:  The paper discusses the negative attitudes of some nursing assistants in Slovenia towards higher nursing education and academic (theoretical and research based) knowledge.

Background:  The topic is discussed in the context of traditional hierarchical and patriarchal relations in the health-care sector, professionalization of nursing and the evidence-based debate in nursing.

Methods:  A secondary analysis of data gathered in 2005 was carried out. The topic of the original research was the interprofessional collaboration between medical and nursing care professionals in Slovenia. The secondary study looked closely into the relations within nursing care. Specifically it focused on the nursing assistants' perspective. Five hundred ninety-two answer to two open-end questions (307 from nurses and 285 from nursing assistants) and five semi-structured interviews (with three nurses and two nursing assistants) were re-analyzed (with the new focus), applying inductive qualitative content analysis and the pragmatic approach to interpretation.

Findings:  In nursing assistants' view, the difference between themselves and graduate nurses was described in terms of the distinction ‘work – non-work’. Higher education was associated primarily with striving for higher social status. Academic knowledge was not perceived to include the right competencies for either practising or improving the quality of nursing care.

Conclusions:  The mistrust of the academic nurse on the part of some nursing assistants is interpreted as a barrier to full professionalization of nursing care and also interprofessional collaboration in the health-care sector.