This paper aims to explore how dispositions of nursing habitus carry shift handover into practice in acute care.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited