Evidence-based Nursing in the IED: From Caring to Curing?

  • Jette Ernst Department of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark
Keywords: Health, working environment & wellbeing, Identity, meaning & culture, Organization & management

Abstract

Danish hospitals are major sites of healthcare reform, and new public management accountability and performance management tools have been applied to improve the quality and efficiency of services. One consequence of this is that nurses’ work in hospitals is increasingly standardized through medical evidence. Using Bourdieu’s theory of practice in combination with an ethnographic field study, it is analyzed how the nurses of a Danish Integrated Emergency Department respond to the changing conditions of work. It is illuminated how two opposing approaches to nursing of humanistically and pluralistically oriented caring, and evidence-based scientifically oriented curing inform nursing in the department. The curing approach is however trumping the caring approach. Curing creates new nursing career pathways and is by some nurses embraced with enthusiasm. For others, the new situation creates tension and distress. It is illustrated how the nurses position their practice in relation to the changing working conditions taking sides for either curing or caring, or finding a way to maneuver in between the two. The article argues that the normative enforcement of the curing approach may carry unintended side effects to the goals of quality and efficiency enhancements.

Author Biography

Jette Ernst, Department of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark

PhD Fellow. email: jette-ernst@sdu.dk

Published
2016-03-01
How to Cite
Ernst, J. (2016). Evidence-based Nursing in the IED: From Caring to Curing?. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 6(S1), 47-66. https://doi.org/10.19154/njwls.v6i1.4885