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Biogeography as critical nursing pedagogy: Breathing life into nurse education

Kyle, Richard G; Atherton, Iain M


Richard G Kyle


Insights from the social sciences, including geography, sociology, and anthropology, have long been incorporated into pre-registration nursing programmes. However, scholars have suggested that their inclusion has been sporadic and lacks clear theoretical rationale. In this paper we argue anew that the social sciences – and particularly, human geography – could be central to nurse education. Specifically, we recast the concept of ‘biogeography’ drawn from human geography that emphasises the interplay between life (bio) and place (geo) to propose pedagogy that theoretically justifies and practically enables the inclusion of the social sciences in nurse education. Biogeography can breathe new life into nursing curricula by animating our students through the cultivation of three ‘spirits of nursing’. First, a ‘spirit of empathy’ that can shatter patient-professional dualisms by facilitating person-centred and place-sensitive care. Second, a ‘spirit of engagement’ that situates practice in social structures awakening a desire to effect change by fomenting an acute sense of social justice. Third, a ‘spirit of enquiry’ that holds in critical tension the theory-practice gap by fostering continual questioning and pursuit of evidence. In so doing, biogeographical pedagogy releases the latent potential of the social sciences to revitalise nurse education, reinvigorate our students, and renew ourselves as nurse educators


Kyle, R. G., & Atherton, I. M. (2016). Biogeography as critical nursing pedagogy: Breathing life into nurse education. Nurse Education in Practice, 20, 76-79.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 28, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 31, 2016
Publication Date 2016-07
Deposit Date Aug 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date Aug 1, 2017
Journal Nurse Education in Practice
Print ISSN 1471-5953
Electronic ISSN 1873-5223)
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Pages 76-79
Keywords Social science; pedagogy; biography; geography
Public URL