Health promotion in nursing: a Derridean discourse analysis.

Dean Whitehead

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)


    The objective of this study was to identify the current position of health promotion in nursing as it relates to its practice, theory and policy and, where possible as a secondary aim, compare and contrast this against the health promotion position of other health professional groups. This was achieved using the framework of a Derridean-derived discourse analysis of existing health promotion literature specific to nurses and nursing practice. The overall process examined a 'corpus' of the literature considered exemplary texts of that kind and classification. A number of binary oppositions and tensions, in the Derridean tradition, were uncovered. Strong themes to emerge were that nursing has yet to clearly contextualize and differentiate health promotion and health education and the specific role and function of nursing. Also evident was the view that nursing-related clinical practice is yet to universally reflect the theory and language of 'general' health promotion. Furthermore, nursing has not yet demonstrated a clear and notable wider health policy/political role in formulating and implementing health promotion agendas. Although this state of affairs has existed for some time now, there is evidence that nursing knowledge and practice is changing - even if this is not a universal phenomenon. Studies, like this one, are part of the step towards a more widespread reform for health promotion in nursing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)117-127
    Number of pages11
    JournalHealth Promotion International
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


    • Derrida
    • discourse analysis
    • health promotion
    • nursing


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