Author: Peter Gray
University of Stirling
This study is an exploration of spatiality and its meaning. It focuses primarily on the experience of nursing students at two Scottish sites, but draws wider conclusions about spatiality from this data. Although the experience of nursing students has been researched in other studies, this is the first study which addresses this experience through the concept of spatiality, which integrates the student experience across different aspects of the life-world. Its theoretical framework is based in phenomenology and in particular the work of Heidegger, but also uses more recent insights from social geography and elsewhere. The philosophy of embodied realism developed by Lakoff & Johnson (1999) is used to argue that embodiment is central to any consideration of spatiality. It is suggested that a framework based on the interlocking concepts of proximity, mobility and possession provides a comprehensive analytical tool for investigating spatiality within discourse. The study involved semi-structured interviews with nursing students across the two sites. These revealed a diverse range of spatial issues relevant to their academic education and practical training as nurses. The topics addressed include the experience of placements, self-directed learning, essay writing and the spatiality of libraries and lecture theatres. The results of the study suggest that consideration of spatiality should be a more prominent feature of educational discourse generally and the discourse of nurse education in particular. It has been neglected in the past because of its transparency and closeness to everyday life, but as with other forms of difference, it has hidden effects. Given the prominence of nurse recruitment and nurse education as issues in healthcare policy, the study provides evidence that the student experience in this area could be improved by a greater awareness of spatial issues.
Keywords: Spatiality Lives, Nursing Students