Space and place in the construction and performance of gendered nursing identities


Halford, Susan and Leonard, Pauline (2003) Space and place in the construction and performance of gendered nursing identities. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 42, (2), 201-208. (doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02601.x).

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Description/Abstract

Background and aims: This paper draws on recent research conducted in two contrasting NHS hospitals: one a large District General, the other a small Community hospital; to look at hospitals as organizational spaces. This includes both the physical environment as well as how these spaces are inhabited and used. This paper aims to explore the ways in which hospital spaces impact on the working lives of nurses.

Methods: The research employed two main methods. Two phases of round the clock non-participant observation were carried out within each hospital, one at the beginning of the research period and one at the end. This generated thick description of the diversity of spaces, as well as individuals' use of space. In addition, more than 50 in-depth unstructured interviews were conducted with both nurses and doctors.

Findings: Three aspects of the relationship between nurse and hospital spaces are considered. First, the degree of access that nurses have to the different hospital spaces is limited, and many are confined to the wards in which they work. The high proportion of female nurses working on wards means that there are marked gender differences in access to hospital spaces. There are also marked professional differences when nurses are compared to doctors who have much greater freedom to roam and there are differences in the amount of private space allocated to nurses and doctors. Second, styles of bodily movement in space are also highly differentiated by profession and gender. Third, different spaces have very different meanings attached to them, and this has a strong impact on styles of performance and identity. Attention to space thus offers original insights to nurses working conditions as well as to inter-professional relations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Experience before and throughout the nursing career
Related URLs:
Keywords: space, place, identity, organizations, gender, profession, access, bodily movement, performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Sociology and Social Policy
ePrint ID: 33842
Date Deposited: 16 May 2006
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2014 15:25
Projects:
Gendered organisations, gendered identities? Contemporary change in the nhs
Funded by: ESRC (R000221951)
14 July 1997 to 31 December 2000
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/33842

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