Nursing Epistemology: Personal and Kinesthetic

While the article Educational Studies in Mathematics highlights the discrepancy between book and experiential learning in mathematics, the article “Interprofessional perspectives on teamwork in health care” highlights the difficulties experienced by nurses working on management teams in hospitals, and allowing their disciplines framework of knowledge to be accepted as equal to their physician-colleagues. “There is a discrepancy between nursings and medicines views and expectations of interdisciplinary team” (Temkin-Greener 2000, p. 641). While medicine sees nurses in a subordinate role, in a team context, the profession of nursing sees its contribution as unique. Nursing leaders have fought to define nurses as nurses, not mere physician-extenders. But when surveyed, physicians on interdisciplinary teams in healthcare settings with a stress upon equality showed a lack of enthusiasm about the team concept and the unique contribution of nursing. The physicians responses suggested that the viewed “teamwork as a nursing concept, beneficial primarily to nursing and used to usurp the traditional authority of medicine in health care provision” and said that teamwork was merely buzzword deployed by management, with little relevance to their practice (Temkin-Greener 2000, p. 647).

Both nurses and physicians felt that there was an unspoken assumption on such teams that the physician was the leader, although this was not stated, and the single common denominator reported by all the informants was the lack of any structure to the teamwork to ensure all professionals could make a unique contribution.

In healthcare settings, there was “a total absence of organizational directives regarding teamwork” and no attempt to institutionally coordinate the two disciplines different ways of knowing (Temkin-Greener 2000, p. 652).

These two articles show a certain discomfort with how nursing bridges a variety of ways of knowing — experiential, somatic, and in terms of patient care. Nursing as a discipline may conflict with both mathematics and medicine, despite its location in the sciences, and a need to defend its integrity and uniqueness as a discipline is a critical task for the profession in the future.

Works Cited

Noss, Richard & Stefano Pozzi, Celia Hoyles. (1999, October). Touching epistemologies:

Meanings of average and variation in nursing practice. Educational Studies in Mathematics. 40(1), 25-51

Temkin-Greener, Helena (1983, Autumn). Interprofessional perspectives on teamwork in health care: A.


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