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Using portraiture to identify why nurses stay in the health system: Vicki Cope, PhD Candidate, ECU

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Published on Oct 27, 2010

Vicki Cope, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate in the School of Nursing & Midwifery at Edith Cowan University (ECU) presents her research "Picture Perfect, Portraiture" as a finalist in ECU's 2010 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Vicki begins her presentation by defining portraiture in terms of her research. Portraiture is a qualitative research methodology that is an amalgamation of life history, narrative enquiry and ethnographic methods.

Vicki intends to use written portraiture to identify why nurses stay in the flawed Western Australian health care system. She outlines some of the issues with the health care system:
- there is an aging workforce, the average age of a nurse is 47 years
- there are chronic staff shortages
- horizontal violence and bullying
- cutbacks and rationalisation of budgets

Vicki chose portraiture as her research methodology because it chooses to look at the positives, so it looks at people conquering obstacles and achieving success.

Using Fredrickson's broaden-and-build theory, Vicki is looking at how:
- positive emotions
- channelling those positive emotions, and
- modelling those positive behaviours
Enable nurses to remain within the system.

She discusses how concepts like "survivor's pride" and "perserverance in times of obstacles" can help to explain why nurses are so committed to the industry, in spite of the flaws in the WA health care system.

ECU's 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is a research communication competition where ECU's Master by Research, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Honours students have three minutes to explain their research and its significance to an intelligent but non-specialist audience, using just one presentation slide!

For more information about the Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) competition at Edith Cowan University: http://www.ecu.edu.au/research/week/3...

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