There has been a proliferation of taught masters’ degrees for nurses in recent years, and like masters’ programmes in other disciplines, the aspirations of such educational endeavours are far from unanimous. This article reports on part of a wider study, and focuses on a qualitative analysis of the perspectives of two key sets of stakeholders, namely academic education providers, and senior clinical nursing personnel, on masters’ education for nurses. Fifteen participants were interviewed in depth, and data were subjected to a qualitative content analysis. Findings indicated that while both sets of participants invoked the discourse of the ‘knowledgeable doer’, that is, the notion of amalgamating a high level of theoretical knowledge with practical know how, there were also differences in how each group deployed this discourse. Academics tended to emphasise the ‘knowing that’ or theoretical aspect of the discourse, whereas those in senior clinical roles adduced the practical component more strongly. We argue that the discourse of the ‘knowledgeable doer’ is far from stable, unified and universally agreed, but rather comprises competing elements with some emphasised over others according to the subject position of the particular individual. We locate the diverse perspectives of the two sets of stakeholders within debates about the status of masters’ programmes in relation to vocational and liberal education.
J. Drennan, A. Hyde
Advances in Health Sciences Education