Understanding Sociology in Nursing
Publication Year: 2016
Provides students with insights into key contemporary debates and events to demonstrate the relevance of sociology and its practical application to modern nursing. This textbook helps student nurses make the leap from a narrow focus on the physical problems of their patients to a broader understanding of the whole person and the contexts of care which will help them succeed as compassionate nurses. Written directly for nurses, it focuses on the individuals and families in their care, the organisations they work in, and the factors which affect their practice. Key features include: * Case studies and scenarios to help students relate sociology to real life examples * Reflection points to help students critically engage with the discussion * Learning outcomes and chapter summaries for revision * Definitions of key ...
- Front Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Becoming a patient
- Chapter 2: Who is the patient?
- Chapter 3: Becoming a nurse
- Chapter 4: Nursing as women’s work
- Chapter 5: Caring, face-work and nursing
- Chapter 6: Nursing the body
- Chapter 7: When things go wrong
- Chapter 8: Leadership and management
- Chapter 9: Using a sociological framework to understand nursing
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© Helen Allan, Michael Traynor, Daniel Kelly and Pam Smith 2016
First published 2016
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015951828
British Library Cataloguing in Publication data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 978-1-4739-1359-2 (pbk)
Editor: Becky Taylor
Editorial assistant: Charlène Burin
Production editor: Katie Forsythe
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Cover design: Wendy Scott
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Printed and bound in Great Britain by Bell and Bain Ltd, Glasgow
About the Authors
This book is an excellent introduction to how clinical work can be understood as affected by particular social and cultural forces. It helps foreground not just how nurses train and work in complex environments – the normal chaos of healthcare services under strain – but how important it is to understand that these environments are also deeply structured.
Nurses are never ever free to do whatever they choose. So many clinical textbooks represent nurses as autonomous decision-makers with the discretion to conduct care in line with standards and protocols decided far from the plane of action, providing they have the right education, knowledge, skills and experience. What these ways of representing nursing leave out is how nursing is conducted in environments that are complex, prefigured by social and cultural, not just clinical or bioethical, values. For example, nursing is entangled in cultural preoccupations that privilege some kinds of knowledge and work, such as highly techno-medical work, and that deface other kinds of knowledge and work, for example ‘body’ or ‘care’ work. In addition nurses are continuously being positioned by multiple and often competing agendas. For example those carried by an audit culture which intensifies the need to be seen to meet particular targets rather than the needs and cares of an individual patient. As the Francis Report amongst others has put it, it is as if nurses are being asked to care more for the system, including extremely limited ideas about efficiency, than for their patients.
Sociology is concerned with helping illuminate this complexity and its unintended consequences. It also helps us to see all the invisible and often neglected patching and knitting work that nurses do to make these complex environments run at all. And that’s what this book helps do. It helps us to see how to draw in different theoretical positions not just to make sense of the complexity but to illuminate the aspects of being a nurse and doing nursing, and of becoming ill and being a patient, that remain invisible if we only examine them from a biomedical or even a psychological perspective.
It is in this respect that I appreciate the way that the book grounds discussion and explication of key sociological ideas in the everyday worlds of nursing students’ experience, helping to illuminate how this is rooted in the social, cultural and political conditions of contemporary healthcare. Here the book draws on examples from each authors’ extensive repertoires of empirical research as well as a vast array of literature across key domains: being a patient, becoming a nurse and doing nursing, the social construction of health and illness, the gendering of nursing and the division of healthcare labour, the meanings of care, patient safety and organisational complexity, the body and emotional labour, and the problems with discourses of leadership and technologies of management.
[Page x]The book will not only help nurses to think critically about how and why they work in the ways that they do but will empower them to do things differently. For a long time sociology has been a core subject in medical education. I have long argued it should be a core subject for nurse education. This erudite but eminently accessible book should be compulsory reading on every undergraduate nursing programme.