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J Prof Nurs. 1998 Nov-Dec;14(6):350-60.

Philosophy of science in doctoral nursing education revisited.

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Department of Nursing, Salisbury State University, MD 21801, USA.


Because every scientific theory and all research methods are tied to some philosophical framework, it is important that scientists within a given discipline be aware of the philosophical orientations that serve as the basis for developing theory and advancing knowledge. Nurse scientists have been challenged recently to examine the discipline's philosophical underpinnings in order to understand the evolutionary process of nursing science. The inclusion of the study of philosophy of science in doctoral nursing curriculum has remained a topic of periodic discourse. Whereas some assert that it promotes the essential process of philosophical reflection necessary for scientific exploration of relevant phenomenon, others contend that nurse scientists' preoccupation with this issue has diverted their attention from the real business of nursing science--that of knowledge development that will lead to legitimization of nursing as a discipline. Philosophy of science provides a useful frame of reference in which to appreciate the unfolding of nursing as a discipline. It should not be viewed as a distraction but rather a critical step in the transformation of the doctoral student into a productive nurse scientist. Doctoral programs remain the most logical place in which to educate future scholars regarding nursing's unique philosophical foundations and their implications for scientific inquiry and continued knowledge development. Creating and maintaining liaisons between nursing and philosophy departments--as well as requiring courses that emphasize the interrelationships among philosophy of science, nursing theory, and nursing research--are just a few of the strategies whereby doctoral programs can actively promote advancement of the discipline.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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