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Braided identities in acute care nurses' practices of work: professional, clinician, employee

Sarah Lake (The Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia)
Trudy Rudge (The Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia)
Sandra West (The Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia)

Journal of Organizational Ethnography

ISSN: 2046-6749

Article publication date: 7 December 2022

6

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how dispositions of nursing habitus carry shift handover into practice in acute care.

Design/methodology/approach

Handover (the exchange of information by nurses between shifts) is more recently purported to be a procedure that transfers the responsibility of and accountability for care to maintain patient safety. Using Bourdieu's theory of practice as lens, this paper examines data from an ethnographic study of nurses' work in acute care to reveal what happens in and around nurses' practices of handover.

Findings

Exploring handover as a practice enables identification of nurses' responsibilities of work as professional, clinician and employee. These responsibilities are not practised separately, rather, as braided identities they are embodied into nurses' practices of work. Nurses' clinician and employee identities address the clinical and organisationally relevant material contained in handover, but it is in the ways that nurses embody their responses that their professional identity becomes evident.

Research limitations/implications

Viewing handover as a procedure suggests that nurses are rule followers and/or sole players and conceptualises nurses as individualised professionals only. This received knowledge as doxa misrecognises the centrality of connectedness between nurses in their work in the acute care setting.

Originality/value

Recognising nurses' braided workplace identities as being professional, clinician and employee upends the doxa of nurses work as tasks and roles in the delivery of healthcare in the acute care setting.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper is a further development of ideas in the first author's thesis: Lake, S. E. (2020). Within and between: an ethnographic study of the work of nurses in adult acute care wards. (PhD), University of Sydney, Sydney. Retrieved from https://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/handle/2123/23634.

Citation

Lake, S., Rudge, T. and West, S. (2022), "Braided identities in acute care nurses' practices of work: professional, clinician, employee", Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOE-04-2022-0004

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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