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Foucault could have been an operating room nurse

journal contribution
posted on 2002-08-01, 00:00 authored by R Riley, Elizabeth ManiasElizabeth Manias
BACKGROUND: Operating room nursing is an under-researched area of nursing practice. The stereotypical image of operating room nursing is one of task- and technically-orientated aspects of practice, where nurses work in a medical model and are dominated by constraints from outside their sphere of influence. This paper explores the possibility of understanding operating room nursing in a different way. AIM: Using the work of Michel Foucault to analyse the work of operating room nursing, this paper argues the relevance of the framework for a more in-depth analysis of this specialty area of practice. CONTENT: The concepts of power, discipline and subjectivity are used to demonstrate how operating room nursing is constructed as a discipline and how operating room nurses act to govern and construct the specialty. Exemplars are drawn from extensive professional experience, from guidelines of professional operating room nursing associations, as well as published texts. The focus is predominantly on the regulation of space and time to maintain the integrity of the sterile surgical field and issues of management, as well as the use of the ethical concept of the 'surgical conscience'. CONCLUSIONS: This form of analysis provides a level and depth of inquiry that has rarely been undertaken in operating room nursing. As such, it has the potential to provide a much needed, different view of operation room nursing that can only help to strengthen its professional foundations and development.

History

Journal

Journal of advanced nursing

Volume

39

Issue

4

Pagination

316 - 324

Publisher

Wiley

Location

Chichester, Eng.

ISSN

0309-2402

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2002, Blackwell Science Ltd