Two nurse teachers reflect on acquiring their nursing identity

Engle Angela Chan, J.K. Schwind

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


As nurse teachers, researchers and practitioners, we live within a changing landscape of the nursing profession. There is a continuous search for a clear definition of what nursing is and what role it plays on the social and political stage. We believe that one way to approach the task of delineating our professional identity as nurses is through individual self-reflection on, and sharing of, our personal and professional narratives. We suggest that this exploration may be attained through the reflective process of narrative inquiry, which is at once the method and the phenomenon of study. Further, Connelly and Clandinin build on Dewey's work on experience, and postulate that we bring all of our personal life experiences into our professional life. Consequently, by examining what personal experiences each of us brings into the profession we learn about who we are professionally. By knowing who we are professionally as individual nurses we have the potential to become clearer on what nursing is and what it does. Similarly, by striving to understand our individual professional identity we as nurses contribute to the creation of the nursing profession as a whole. Therefore, through the telling and retelling of these life experiences we may gain deeper understanding of who we are as individual nurses within the context of the nursing profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-314
Number of pages12
JournalReflective Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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