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The importance of self-realization to remain in nursing (PhD-project 2018–ongoing)

In this PhD-project, Linda Horne Mæland investigates the importance of self-realization for school nurses’ intention to remain in nursing.

Nursing shortage is an international and national challenge. In Norway one in five nurses leave their profession during the first ten years of practice and it is estimated that there will be a shortage of around 30.000 nurses and 600 public health nurses in 2035. Nurses leave their profession for several reasons, e.g. workload, constraints, working hours, low salaries and limited professional career opportunities. To remain in nursing, it seems nurses need opportunities to realise themselves in focusing both on the patient and on their own personal values. It has been documented that public health nurses working as school nurses experience emotional concerns and lack of knowledge and resources to meet children and adolescents’ complex needs. As the only health professional continuously present in the school health service, school nurses experience challenges related to social and professional affiliation and complex nursing situations. Therefore, school nurses may find it demanding to deal with limited opportunities to realize oneself by focusing on both children and adolescents and themselves. In recent years, the Norwegian government has allocated millions of Norwegian kroner to school health service. As a result, an increased number of public health nurses are working in school health service. Thus, it is timely to gain a deeper understanding of what is important for public health nurses to self-realize, particularly because more self-oriented moral notions have been found to be of value in contemporary Western societies. Hence, this project aims to explore the significance of self-realization for school nurses’ intention to remain in school health service.

This project’s purpose is to describe and interpret the importance of self-realization for nurses’ intention to remain in nursing. The project will focus on self-realization related to school nurses’ self-understanding. The research questions will be explored by asking school nurses to describe their everyday nursing experience.

During spring and summer 2018, data has been collected from fifteen public health nurses with a current position as school nurse within the Norwegian school health service. The data consist of one written text and two in-depth interviews with each participant. This material will be analysed by a phenomenological-hermeneutical method inspired by Lindseth and Norberg (2004).

Supervisor: Associate Professor Margareth Kristoffersen

Co-supervisor: Associate Professor Bjørg Frøysland Oftedal