• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Nursing (Profession) and Motherhood

  • By: Diana L. Gustafson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Nursing and motherhood as social institutions, carework, and individual and collective identity illustrate well the gendered, classed, and raced meanings of women's lives. Nursing is an overwhelmingly female-dominated profession with estimates ranging from 89–97 percent in developed countries. It is also estimated that 90 percent of nurses are mothers. Although caring is believed to be a fundamentally human quality, narratives of caring, whether performed by nurses or parents, are typically associated with women and girls. Both involve instrumental, moral, emotional, and relational labor that contributes to the domestic economy, the reproduction of collective values, and to individual and collective health and well-being. From time to time, there are calls for a revaluation of the paid and unpaid work done by nurses and mothers, work that ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles