- Ghanaian nurses at a crossroads : Managing expectations on a medical ward
Sjaak van der Geest
- Award date
- 2 March 2010
- Number of pages
- African Studies Centre
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Nursing as a profession is practiced worldwide in hospitals, clinics, health centres, and individual homes. While there are universal definitions of nursing and universal criteria for training student nurses, the working reality that nurses face differs widely. This ethnography provides insights into the daily routine of nurses on a medical ward in a teaching hospital in Ghana. Next to a description of historical developments of nursing, it analyses nurses’ motives, the nature of their work, and power relations on the ward. The study also looks at perceptions of nursing in Ghanaian society. Having been trained in western concepts of care, the nurses on the ward are confronted with demands and challenges not covered in their educational training such as personnel shortage, limited equipment and financial restrictions. In addition, tradition, religion and the notion of respect influence the work of nurses. By reflecting on this profession and its position in the health care setting, the author shows how notions of health, care and death are shaped by the surrounding culture.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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