Now showing 1 - 10 of 20
  • Publication
    The Academic Profession in Ireland
    This study examined the nature and extent of the changes experienced by the academic profession in Ireland in recent years. The report outlines current characteristics of the academic profession — those who teach and/or research — providing a profile of academics in Ireland. Three themes are investigated: the professional contexts of Irish academics, their teaching and research situations, and their experiences of governance and management within their institutions.
  • Publication
    Social selection and professional regulation for Master's degrees for nurses
    (Blackwell, 2008-09) ;
    Aim. This paper is a report of a study to understand the perspectives of two sets of stakeholders, namely clinical nursing providers and nursing academics, on how registered nurses should be selected for Master's degree programmes. Background. The proliferation of taught Master's programmes has led to concerns about a lowering of standards. Even with the expansion of professional Master's programmes, they remain one of the least researched areas of higher education. Method. The sampling strategy was a combination of convenience and snowball sampling. In-depth interviews were conducted in 2006-07 with 15 stakeholders and data were subjected to thematic content analysis. Findings. There were differences in service providers' and academics' perceptions of access to Master's level education for nurses. Service providers engaged in regulatory practices, as evidenced in the way in which potential candidates were judged to be suitable or not to undertake a Master's-level education. Academic participants, in contrast, tended to have far fewer concerns about the career plans of applicants and were more likely to invoke discourses of academic educational admission practices. Conclusion. The health services need highly skilled, educated workers whose abilities and knowledge make an impact on the provision of effective patient and client care. This level of education can be achieved through continuing education of the professions by taught Master's degrees. It is imperative that an effective partnerships between clinical service providers and academics are developed to promote understanding of their respective perceptions of admission to the degree.
      588Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Heterosexual experiences of secondary school pupils in Ireland: sexual coercion in context
    (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2008-06-17) ; ; ;
    This paper reports on data from a wider study of young people's heterosexual experiences in Ireland, but focuses in particular on issues of sexual coercion. Data were gathered from 29 focus group interviews with 102 young women and 124 young men and were analysed using a qualitative research strategy. Drawing on concepts of social coercion and interpersonal coercion, we argue that both female and male participants reported a general sense of social coercion to lose their virginity by a certain age. However, narratives of interpersonal coercion were far stronger in the case of the young women compared with their male counterparts, while the young men reported a particular type of social coercion that propelled them to subscribe to conventional heterosexual male behaviour. We argue that while the distinction between social coercion and interpersonal coercion is far from watertight, it is a useful conceptual tool in identifying broad variations in women's and men's sexually coercive experiences.
      625Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Young men's vulnerability in constituting hegemonic masculinity in sexual relations
    This article reports on a qualitative analysis of theThis article reports on a qualitative analysis of the accounts of young men on their experiences of heterosexual encounters. Based on data collected in Ireland using 17 focus groups with 124 young men aged between 14 and 19 years (a subsection of a wider study), the manner in which intricate peer groupmechanisms acted as surveillance strategies in regulating the young men toward presenting themselves in ways consistent with hegemonic manifestations of masculinity is explored. However, there were also elements of resistance to such a culture in the way in which sexual pleasure for some young men was derived relationally through giving pleasure rather than merely through mechanical, emotionally detached sexual acts that characterize hegemonic masculinity. In emphasizing male vulnerabilities such as uncertainty, fear, and rejection in the realm of sexuality, it is proposed that one must not lose sight of the broader context of male sexual dominance for which, as data indicate, men themselves pay a price.
      826Scopus© Citations 44
  • Publication
    Parents' constructions of the sexual self-presentation and sexual conduct of adolescents: discourses of gendering and protecting
    In this paper, we explore the discourses on sexuality that a sample of parents drew upon when they talked about teenage sexual self-presentation and conduct. The sample consisted of 43 parents (32 mothers and 11 fathers) of young people aged 10–19 years. Data were gathered using in-depth interviews and were analysed using a strategy known as modified analytical induction. Findings indicated that while an acceptance the traditional heterosexual script permeated participants' accounts, and protective discourses in relation to young women were brought to bear, so, too, were protective discourses invoked in relation to young men. On the whole, young women tended to be cast as sexual subjects who chose to self-sexualise and this was sometimes seen by participants as a threat to young men. We argue that the discourses that parents connoted were multiple and sometimes contradictory, and our analysis problematises the notion that conventional discourses singularly cast women as objects of male sexuality. However, the overall picture indicated that in parents' narratives, young women tended to be more heavily regulated and either viewed as needing protection from male sexual advances or castigated for encouraging them.
      583Scopus© Citations 8
  • Publication
    The focus group method: insights from focus group interviews on sexual health with adolescents
    This article concerns the manner in which group interaction during focus groups impacted upon the data generated in a study of adolescent sexual health. Twenty-nine group interviews were conducted with secondary school pupils in Ireland, and data were subjected to a qualitative analysis. In exploring the relationship between method and theory generation, we begin by focusing on the ethnographic potential within group interviews. We propose that at times during the interviews, episodes of acting-out, or presenting a particular image in the presence of others, can be highly revealing in attempting to understand the normative rules embedded in the culture from which participants are drawn. However, we highlight a specific problem with distinguishing which parts of the group interview are a valid representation of group processes and which parts accurately reflect individuals' retrospective experiences of reality. We also note that at various points in the interview, focus groups have the potential to reveal participants' vulnerabilities. In addition, group members themselves can challenge one another on how aspects of their sub-culture are represented within the focus group, in a way that is normally beyond reach within individual interviews. The formation and composition of focus groups, particularly through the clustering of like-minded individuals, can affect the dominant views being expressed within specific groups. While focus groups have been noted to have an educational and transformative potential, we caution that they may also be a source of inaccurate information, placing participants at risk. Finally, the opportunities that focus groups offer in enabling researchers to cross-check the trustworthiness of data using a post-interview questionnaire are considered. We conclude by arguing that although far from flawless, focus groups are a valuable method for gathering data about health issues.
      2953Scopus© Citations 113
  • Publication
    Hormone therapy and the medical encounter:  a qualitative analysis of women's experiences
    Objective: The aim of this article was to explore women's experiences in biomedical consultations for menopause symptoms, with a particular focus on how hormone therapy (HT) featured during the encounter. Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 39 women, and data were analyzed using a qualitative strategy referred to as Thematic Networks. Results: Several participants whose menopause started before the period of the HT "scares" described being "put on" HT as a matter of course, even when their symptoms were mild. By contrast, some of those presenting in the more recent time period with what they deemed to be severe symptoms were more likely to describe scenarios whereby they pressured their physicians for an HT prescription. Once on HT, participants were found to be far from passive recipients of a biomedical "treatment" but rather embarked on an active dialogue with themselves about how to manage the distressing aspects of menopause. Conclusions: Using HT did not tend to spell a transition to biomedical advocacy, despite its reported effectiveness in moderating bodily distresses. Rather, HT tended to retain a tentative status as a temporary relief and not a long-term panacea.
      345Scopus© Citations 9
  • Publication
    Menopause narratives: the interplay of women's embodied experiences with biomedical discourses
    Conventional approaches to menopause tend to contrast the biomedical position on menopause with women’s actual experiences of it. Rather than focusing primarily on the tensions between these perspectives (biomedical vs. lay), our emphasis here is on the impact of biomedicine in shaping participants’ perceptions of their status as menopausal. Based on interview data gathered from 39 women in Ireland, we argue that the cultural authority of biomedicine shaped participants’ experiences of the body and how they constituted their health identity. We assert that, ironically, this was particularly the case among those who most strongly contested biomedical definitions of their situation. In addition, biomedical practitioners’ definitions had a strong normalizing power in how the body was experienced. We conclude by noting that our analysis problematizes the notion of privileging “women’s experiences” as advocated by some feminist perspectives. The heavy influence of biomedical discourses in shaping participants’ embodied experiences demonstrates the pervasive impact of prevailing discourses on women’s experiences.
      1111Scopus© Citations 24
  • Publication
    Modes 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
      1132Scopus© Citations 37
  • Publication
    Parents' constructions of communication with their children about safer sex
    Aims and objectives: To analyse how a sample of parents reportedly communicated with their adolescent and preadolescent children about safer sex (contraceptive and condom use). Background: Among the plethora of existing research available on parent–child communication about sexuality (more broadly), very few studies detail the substance and tenor of what parents actually convey specifically about safer sex.Design: The study adopted a qualitative methodology and involved interviewing 43 parents (32 mothers and 11 fathers). Data were analysed using modified analytical induction. Results: Findings indicated that although the majority of parents professed to being open about sexuality with their children, only a minority reportedly conveyed direct messages about contraception and condom use. Moreover, these direct messages appeared to be imparted at a superficial level. Parents were more likely to communicate such messages in a tacit manner through innuendo and intimation. The complacency that parents displayed about the need to undertake safer sex education with their adolescents arose from an understanding that this was covered adequately at school and the belief that their teenager was not in a romantic relationship. In addition, some parents expressed concern that discussing safer sex with teenagers might actually encourage sexual activity. Conclusion: We conclude that some parents may consider themselves to have engaged in sexuality education around safer sex when it appears to be predominantly surface-level education; that what constitutes ‘doing’ sexuality education is far from clear-cut may cast some light on why there is little consistency in the literature on the impact of parental communication on sexual health outcomes for young people. Relevance to clinical practice: For nurses engaged in sexuality health promotion with parents, we caution about presenting unequivocal messages to parents about the impact of parental communication about sexuality on adolescent sexual behaviour without due acknowledgement of the grey areas indicated in the literature.
      904Scopus© Citations 29