Contradictory views of nursing care among students at the end of their nursing education

Antonia Arreciado Marañón*, Mª Pilar Isla Pera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aim: To understand how nursing students at the end of their nursing education view nursing care. Background: Although care is understood as the essence of nursing, it is often difficult for nurses to provide care, which demonstrates a contradiction between theory and practice. Moreover, it is unknown to what extent this contradiction is transmitted to future nursing professionals or how they view nursing care and its practice. Design: Qualitative ethnographic research. Methods: The fieldwork was conducted between December 2010 - May 2012 in a university nursing school in Barcelona and two centres where students carry out most of their practical education. The data collection techniques were participant observation and focus groups. A thematic analysis was used. Results: The students demonstrated contradictory views of nursing care. On one hand, they voiced a more theoretical, official definition where care is considered the core of the profession. On the other hand, they also expressed a view where the provision of care is not nurses’ principal daily activity, a fact that did not surprise them. Students interpreted caring as an activity that has low value and that can be transferred unproblematically to other professionals. Conclusion: The contradictory views of care reveal a problem in the transmission of the definition of nursing to new generations of professionals and reflect a problematic professional reality where there is dissonance between how nursing is defined and how it is carried out in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-420
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • care
  • caring
  • delegation
  • nurses
  • nursing
  • nursing education research
  • qualitative research
  • students


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