Catheters, Slurs, and Pickup Lines
Professional Intimacy in Hospital Nursing
Publication Year: 2012
Every day, hospital nurses must negotiate intimate trust and intimate conflict in an effort to provide quality health care. However, interactions between nurses and patients—which often require issues of privacy—are sometimes made more uncomfortable with inappropriate behavior, as when a patient has a racist and/or sexist outburst. Not all nurses are prepared to handle such intimacy, but they can all learn how to "be caring."
In Catheters, Slurs, and Pickup Lines, Lisa Ruchti carefully examines this fragile relationship between intimacy and professional care, and provides a language for patients, nurses, and administrators to teach, conduct, and advocate for knowledgeable and skilled intimate care in a hospital setting. She also recommends best training practices and practical and effective policy changes to handle conflicts.
Ruchti shows that "caring" is not just a personality characteristic but is work that is structured by intersections of race, gender, and nationality.
Published by: Temple University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Ihave never been a nurse or worked in a medical setting. As a result, I could not have written this book without the guidance, interest, and intellectual support of the many nurses I had the pleasure to stand by, follow, and share a cup of coffee with. Their continued enthusiasm for my research sustained me throughout this study. ...
Introduction: Fantasies and Realities in Nursing Care
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Anna,1 a new Latina nurse, prepared for what was next on her shift: she had to go change a catheter for Alan, a young white man. As she gathered her materials, Anna thought about how uncomfortable she had felt the first time she changed a catheter as a nursing student. ...
1. Invisible Intimacy in Nursing
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No administrator at the hospital could articulate the process of care—for example, how nurses specifically made patients feel safe or responded to their needs across many different contexts. This did not mean that hospital leaders did not value care. ...
2. Social and Commercial Aspects of Intimate Care Work
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In February, I began observing the largest, most racially and ethnically diverse staffed unit in the hospital, which the director, Mary, jokingly called the United Nations. At any one time, seven nurses and five patient care technicians shared the work of caring for up to thirty-six patients. ...
3. Catheters, Communications, and Intimate Trust
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Getting a catheterization is one of the many ordinary hospital procedures that is intimate for the patient but not for the nurse. Instead, the intimacy in acts of care—such as carefully inserting a catheter—is mundane intimate labor. I have used the act of giving and receiving a catheter to help illustrate why nurses need their patients to trust them. ...
4. Slurs, Pickup Lines, and Intimate Conflicts
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When I began to discuss with nurses how they negotiate conflict with patients, many talked about conflict that happens on the “psych” floor, in the “psych” unit, or with “psych” patients. When I designed my study, I purposefully avoided the psychiatric unit, the emergency room, ...
5. Individual and Collective Intimate Strategies
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Patients and family members engaged in harmful and harassing behaviors, which I term intimate conflict. Nurses managed these interactions as a part of professionally intimate labor. Although the hospital administrators in my study appreciated nurses and care as an institutional value, nurses generally handled intimate conflict on their own. ...
Conclusion: A Call for Collective Nursing Practices and Continued Research
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Nurses in my study wanted to care but did not always have the time, the institutional support, or the knowledge to establish and maintain trust with their patients.1 This is in large part because the rhetoric of professional work does not include bedside care as a set of labor practices that require skill and expertise. ...
Appendix A: Why I Define My Research as Feminist
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Appendix B: Nurse Demographics
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Appendix C: Illustrations: Model of Professional Intimacy and Nursing School Recruitment
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About the Author
Lisa C. Ruchti is an Assistant Professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies program and the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. ...
Page Count: 215
Publication Year: 2012