Date of Award

5-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Major

Teacher Education

Major Professor

Claudia T. Melear

Committee Members

Michael Bentley, Ralph Brockett, Sandra P. Thomas

Abstract

Nurses are an important component of primary medical care, and patient education is a common and important role of most nurses. Patient education and positive role modeling by nurses have the potential to influence patients’ life style choices and the serious diseases that may be affected by those choices. A greater understanding of the ways nurses think about their own health could help facilitate healthier choices for them and in their patients. The purpose of this inquiry was to examine the experiences, attitudes and beliefs of student nurses related to their personal health, and to investigate those experiences, attitudes and beliefs as they relate to their education, relationships, values and career choice. The purpose was achieved through phenomenological interviews with eleven senior nursing students, nine females and two males, encouraging them to provide in as much detail as possible their attitudes and values about their personal health. The interviews were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim, and phenomenologically analyzed. A thematic structure emerged such that the nursing students experiences were represented by the four interrelated themes of caring for myself/caring for others; I control my health/my world controls my health; I have energy/I’m tired; and feeling good/looking good. The contextual grounds for the themes that emerged during the analysis were the Body and Time. This structure was presented in terms of its relationship to health education , other research and to current theory.

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