Concept analysis is a means of clarifying or refining a concept (Rodgers & Knafl, 2000; Walker & Avant, 1995). The Walker and Avant method of concept analysis was chosen because of its structured, systematic approach which emphasizes that concepts are constant and specific within clear and rigid boundaries. By exploring the concept of preconception in this manner, a meaningful and useful definition of the term will evolve and the impact of the concept may be recognized as it applies to the education of nursing students.
Concept analysis is the first step toward building the foundations of nursing practice (Walker & Avant, 2005). Walker and Avant modified Wilson's (1963) linguistic approach to concept clarification by tightening the process into eight discrete steps. Those steps include (a) selecting a concept, (b) stating the purpose of analysis, (c) describing uses of the concept, (d) determining the concept's defining attributes, (e) identifying a model case, (f) providing other associated cases, (g) enumerating antecedents and consequences, and (h) defining empirical referents.
The concept of preconceptions is frequently referred to in literature and practice. It is a concept that has been utilized throughout many disciplines across time. Preconceptions have long been recognized to play a significant role in learning and behavior. It is established that the manner in which persons view situations impacts the way they react to these situations. However, the concept of preconception appears ill-defined and underestimated in the nursing literature. This lack of appreciation may be a result of the concept being poorly understood. The purpose of this analysis is to examine the concept of preconception in the literature. The meaning of the word will be clarified in relation to ways of knowing and learning. The significance of the concept and its application to nursing education will be explored. The Walker and Avant (1995) method of concept analysis will be used as a framework for this investigation.
Defining Attributes and Cases
Atttibutes are characteristics that must be present in order to recognize the concept in a naturalistic setting (Walker & Avant, 2005). Walker and Avant suggest that chatacteristics, which recur most frequently during the concept analysis, become the defining attributes. Five defining attributes were identified during the literature review; these included rehtionship, joining link, association, and bond. These 5 words are closely related. According to Webster's Collegiate Thesaurus (1988), each attribute is synonymous with the word connection. In order to minimize repetition and close similarities among words within the theoretical definition, the attribute list was narrowed to two comprehensive criteria: bond and association.
Walker and Avant (2005) recommend a description of a model case to capture the critical attributes of the analyzed concept. This model should demonstrate the defining attributes, antecedents, and consequences of the concept. From a metaphysical perspective, a connection can be made through presence, touch, and listening (Fredriksson, 1999). The following story was derived from a study on silence, touch, and humor by Perry (1996) and functions as a model case of the concept ...