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A bilateral study of the roles of writing in a baccalaureate nursing program

Elizabeth Ann Caldwell, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The performance objectives of professional education are often more explicit, and the relationship with the world of work more immediate and comprehensive, than those of other university majors that are frequently the subject of writing-across-the-curriculum scholarship. This cross-sectional study of samples of both students and professors in the basic undergraduate program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree seeks (1) to determine how they view the roles of writing in the major; (2) to ascertain the assumptions that inform how both groups handle writing within the context of classroom and clinical settings; and (3) to discover what practices result from these views and assumptions. Information was gathered from students through questionnaires, interviews and writing samples, and from faculty through a course writing inventory, course materials and interviews. The data show how writing serves individual, course and program goals; describe some of the ways in which writing is related to the theoretical frameworks and evolution of the discipline; and provide insight into how students conceive of and approach the writing required in their coursework. The final chapter outlines the interconnected roles of writing in this academic program and discusses how writing is used in fashioning professional identity, in teaching, in curricular structure, in fostering individual development, and in advancing professional nursing, and possible links between feminist epistemological studies and the roles of writing in professional education are suggested.

Subject Area

Rhetoric|Composition|Higher education|Nursing

Recommended Citation

Caldwell, Elizabeth Ann, "A bilateral study of the roles of writing in a baccalaureate nursing program" (1996). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9709579.