Title of ArticleBiographical learning: a process for promoting person-centredness in nursing
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sLioba Howatson-Jones, Claire Thurgate, Myriam Graber, Carma M Harnett, Joanne S Thompson, Deborah A Jordan
ReferenceVolume 3, Issue 1, Article 3
Date of PublicationMay 2013
Keywordsauto/biographical, compelling space, person-centredness, processes of repair

Background: This paper explores biographical approaches to nurses’ learning. It builds on previous PhD research to consider the effects of such approaches, drawing on the experiences of learners who have recently completed biographical study, in their own words.

Aims and objectives: The aim of the paper is to make sense of different forms of learning. The objectives are to identify how autobiographical approaches that involve people learning from their life stories can engage people to exert agency, or ownership, in their own lives by taking control of their learning plans.

Design: This longitudinal study started with the first group of learners undertaking a biographical preparation module on an Applied BSc Health and Social Care programme.

Methods: Research relating to nurses’ learning is considered, including a Swiss perspective, as well as the validity of the biographical approach to developing knowledge. The learners share stories of their learning in order to develop understanding and new insights into their own lives and those of others. Results: Different dimensions of learning including learning about self, learning to make a difference and processes of repair are revealed through the learners’ narrations.

Conclusions: Engaging biographically, to make sense of different forms of learning, appears to be beneficial to more person-centred working.

Implications for practice:

  • Introducing biographical elements into courses of study can benefit learners by helping them to make sense of who they are as learners and practitioners
  • Co-creating compelling spaces of learning can facilitate learners to exert agency within their own lives as well as help others to learn. By exerting agency we mean taking ownership of the learning revealed through the biographical work and taking it forward in positive ways to enhance person-centred care

This article by Lioba Howatson-Jones, Claire Thurgate, Myriam Graber, Carma M Harnett, Joanne S Thompson, Deborah A Jordan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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