Living my narrative: Storying dishonesty and deception in mental health nursing

Alec Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper proceeds from MacIntyre’s moral philosophical perspective of individual human lives constituting unified narratives, in the context of co-evolving framing and guiding master narratives. This perspective accords specific episodes in people’s lives the status of significant component parts of their developing, storied and enacted individual histories. From this philosophical base, autoethnographic principles will be employed in providing accounts from my own professional life narrative strand as a mental health nurse educator that speak to the issue of institutionalised dishonesty and deception in mental health nursing education and practice. On the basis of my pre-existing experience of publishing in nursing journals and scholarly identity, my argument will proceed from contesting the idea of an imagined stable foundational professional ethos underpinning mental health nursing practice, against which to judge professional dishonesty and deception. Using illustrative, relatively recent short stories, drawn from my lived-experience base as a mental health nurse educator, I will argue throughout at implicit and explicit levels that dishonesty and deception are always an inevitable part of the lives of mental health nurses and their educators. This is because of a constant gap between the nursing rhetoric and ideology that both groups espouse and how they actually behave on a day-to-day, mundane level, in and out of work and classroom practice. This gap shows up the public front of what mental health nursing is supposed to be about as dishonest and deceitful window dressing. I will assert that the use of more first person, lived experience accounts in mental health nursing teaching and publication are important educational resources in reducing this gap at professional practice, academic and informal levels. Such storied accounts may also be useful in moving nurses and their educators towards more morally and ethically sensitive, and reflexively-attuned positions around what they talk and write into existence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-201
Number of pages8
JournalNursing Philosophy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2016

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Alec Grant (2016), Living my narrative: Storying dishonesty and deception in mental health nursing, Nursing Philosophy, which has been published in final form at 10.1111/nup.12127. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


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