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- PublicationSocial regulation, medicalisation and the nurse's role: insights from an analysis of nursing documentationBackground: Medicine is recognised as a dominant source of governmentality and social regulation, and although nursing has been implicated in the same process, analytical work in this area has been sparse. Objectives: The article aims to present an analysis of nursing records in order to understand the structural and social processes that mediate the texts. Methods: 45 sets of nursing records drawn from four clinical sites in Ireland were subjected to a discourse analysis. Results: This article focuses on two main themes that were derived from data: (i) the manner in which nurses controlled, regulated and invigilated patients' activities of daily living and (ii) the way in which activities of daily living were mediated by a biomedical worldview in the clinical settings. Through the organising framework of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), normative social practices relating to hygiene, eating and drinking, sleeping and so forth were surveyed and monitored within clinical settings. We construct qualitative categories around a range of ways that nurses assessed and judged patients' capacities at ADLs. Furthermore, it is argued that the framework of ADLs epitomises the medicalisation of normative social practices, whereupon the most mundane of normal functions become redefined as an actual or potential clinical pathology, legitimating nursing interventions. According to the nursing documentation, biochemical interventions in the form of various medications were the most dominant means through which nurses attempted to restore or improve the functional capacity of an ADL. Conclusion: We conclude by proposing that nurses' invigilation of patients' ADLs is not necessarily a repressive feature of nursing practice, but rather has the potential to be used to advocate on patients' behalf in certain circumstances.
2243Scopus© Citations 27
- PublicationModes of rationality in nursing documentation: biology, biography and the 'voice of nursing'This article is based on a discourse analysis of the complete nursing records of 45 patients, and concerns the modes of rationality that mediated text-based accounts relating to patient care that nurses recorded. The analysis draws on the work of the critical theorist, Jurgen Habermas, who conceptualised rationality in the context of modernity according to two types: purposive rationality based on an instrumental logic, and value rationality based on ethical considerations and moral reasoning. Our analysis revealed that purposive rationality dominated the content of nursing documentation, as evidenced by a particularly bio-centric and modernist construction of the workings of the body within the texts. There was little reference in the documentation to central themes of contemporary nursing discourses, such as notions of partnership, autonomy, and self-determination, which are associated with value rationality. Drawing on Habermas, we argue that this nursing documentation depicted the colonisation of the sociocultural lifeworld by the bio-technocratic system. Where nurses recorded disagreements that patients had with medical regimes, the central struggle inherent in the project of modernity became transparent--the tension between the rational and instrumental control of people through scientific regulation and the autonomy of the subject. The article concludes by problematising communicative action within the context of nursing practice
829Scopus© Citations 37