Teaching nursing history: The Santa Catarina, Brazil, experience
Nursing history has been a much debated subject with a wide range of work from many countries discussing the profession's identity and questioning the nature of nursing and professional practice. Building upon a review of the recent developments in nursing history worldwide and on primary research that examined the structure of mandated nursing history courses in 14 nursing schools in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, this paper analyzes both the content and the pedagogical style applied. We postulate that the study of history offers an important opportunity for the development of student learning, and propose that more creative and dynamic teaching strategies be applied. We argue the need for professors to be active historical researchers, so they may meaningfully contribute to the development of local histories and enrich the professional identities of both nursing students and the profession. We conclude that historical education in nursing is limited by a traditional and universalist approach to nursing history, by the lack of relevant local sources or examples, and by the failure of historical education to be used as a vehicle to provide students with the intellectual tools for the development of professional understanding and self-identity.