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Defining Nursing Practice: The ANA Social Policy Statement, 1980–1983

Hobbs, Jennifer Lynn PhD, RN

Section Editor(s): Chinn, Peggy L. PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/01.ANS.0000346283.29730.d1

This article examines the initial development of the American Nurses Association's Social Policy Statement (SPS). The methodology used is the Social History of Technology. This approach provided the means to treat the SPS as an information practice or tool that resides within a technological system composed of skills, tools, and knowledge. The data for analysis include archive material and secondary sources. This study concludes that development of the SPS was inherently a local exercise in prioritizing, organizing, and promoting certain skills, tools, and knowledge associated with nursing practice, an exercise that integrated contextual influences with local realities. The study also provides a means to reflect on the development of contemporary information practices.

VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California, and Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Corresponding Author: Jennifer Lynn Hobbs, PhD, RN, VA San Diego Healthcare System, 3350 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92161 (

The author thanks Julie Fairman, PhD, RN, Joan Lynaugh, PhD, RN, and Nathan Ensmenger, PhD, for their generous support. This work would not have been possible without the financial support from the VA Pre-Doctoral Nurse Fellowship, the American Association for the History of Nursing, and the Gamma Gamma and Xi Chapters of Sigma Theta Tau International.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.