Governing nursing: curriculum as a rhetorical vehicle using South Australian nursing schools from the 1950s onwards as an illustrative case
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This paper explores how governance processes for nursing curriculum in South Australia changed since the 1950s. The strategy used to undertake this analysis is through discourse analysis of nursing curriculum from the 1950s to recent times. An archive of curriculum data were collected from educational curriculum documents, historical records and government reports. Analysis of this textual data found changes in how curriculum governance occurred as this was increasingly transferred to the discipline of nursing throughout the period explored in this research. Curricula were found to be a rhetorical vehicle, carrying the beliefs and hopes of the nurse educators in their contents. Changes in the focus of the curricula also replicated changes in the locations and maturing of nursing in the higher education sector. Schools of nursing in universities in responding to both internal and external forces were made increasingly responsible as to curriculum content and structures. Historical analysis of South Australian nursing curricula shows changes common in Australia as it moved nurse education from hospital to the tertiary sector in the latter part of the 20th Century, to its contemporary shape as collaboration between profession, industry and discipline to produce nurses for the Australian workforce.