Nurses' Work, The Sacred and The Profane (Studies in Health, Illness, and Caregiving)

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9780812212662: Nurses' Work, The Sacred and The Profane (Studies in Health, Illness, and Caregiving)

Today, birth, suffering, healing, and death--all powerful experiences--are closely associated with nurses. In Nurses' Work, The Sacred and The Profane, Zane Robinson Wolf reveals and examines the rituals nurses unconsciously establish to help them face their everyday involvement with the sacred events of human life.

The nurses on 7H (a medical unit in the large urban hospital where Wolf did her research), like nurses everywhere, are under tremendous pressure. They must balance the more mundane tasks incolved in caring for the sick with a daunting variety of moral and ethical dilemmas. A nurse can, on any given day, go from emptying a bedpan to participating in a decision whether to resuscitate a terminally ill patient.

Rituals--patterned, symbolic actions--help nurses perform their difficult tasks. In this insightful study, Wolf considers the universal nursing rituals associated with change-of-shift report, administering medication, bathing patients, and, most significantly, providing post-mortem care. Because she is a nurse, Wolf brings firsthand knowledge of the day-to-day work of nurses to her innovative examination of these widely practiced but little studied rituals.

Nurses' Work, The Sacred and The Profane will be invaluable to nurses, historians and teachers of nursing, and sociologists.

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From Library Journal:

Student nurses receive technical instruction at school, but much of their skill comes from the ritualized nursing practices taught by supervisors and other nurses. Wolf, a professor of nursing, identifies four fundamental ritualspostmortem procedures, administering medication, asceptic practices, and change-of-shift reportsand how these arts are learned and practiced in a large urban hospital. The first three rituals focus on the patient, the nurse's primary responsibility. The change-of-shift report functions as an orderly transfer of responsibility from one nurse to another. Wolf details nurses' performance and attitude in the execution of these duties, but does not explore the origins and purpose of these rituals. A lack of analytical summary mars this otherwise excellent study. Recommended for academic libraries. Mary Hemmings, McGill Univ. Medical Lib., Montreal
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review:

"Wolf, a professor of nursing, identifies four fundamental rituals—postmortem procedures, administering medication, aseptic practices, and change-of-shift reports—and how these arts are learned and practiced in a large urban hospital. . . . Excellent."—Library Journal



"Wolf's dramatic portrayal of nurses and nursing holds the reader's attention throughout and is recommended to anyone who wants to know what hospital bedside nurses do and how they feel about what they do."—Pennsylvania Nurse



"Conveys the most vivid sense of nurses' daily work."—Women's Review of Books

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