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Keywords:

  • Benner;
  • coaching-in-context;
  • experiential learning;
  • narrative;
  • nurse manager practice;
  • reflective practice

Aim

To illustrate through the interpretation of one representative nurse manager's narrative how the methodology of practice articulation gives language to the ways practical wisdom develops in leadership practice and facilitates learning.

Background

Patricia Benner's corpus of research has demonstrated that reflection on clinical narratives comes closer than other pedagogical methods to replicating and enhancing the experiential learning required for the development of practical wisdom.

Method

Using Benner's methodology of practice articulation, 91 nurse managers wrote and read to a peer group a narrative of their lived experience in the role. The groups interpreted the narratives to extract the skilled knowledge and ethics embedded in the practice of the nurse manager authors. One narrative was chosen for this paper because it is a particularly clear exemplar of how practical wisdom develops in nurse manager practice.

Results

Articulating and reflecting on experiential learning led to an understanding of how practical wisdom developed in one nurse manager's practice.

Conclusion

Interpretation of the narrative of one nurse manager illustrated how reflection on a complex ethical dilemma was a source of character development for the individual and the peer group.

Implications for nursing management

Describing and interpreting how practical wisdom develops for individual nurse managers can be a source of learning for the narrative author and other role incumbents who need to make sound decisions and take prudent action in ethically challenging situations.