Blog #3 – Abstract Attempt

The following is my attempt at writing an abstract for my project.  As the project is a work is progress, please allow for editing and changes.

Gender disparities have been studied across many different occupations but the nursing field has long held the stereotype as a woman’s job.  According to the US Department of Health and Human Services 8 percent of nurses in the United States are men and the number continues to grow.  As healthcare evolves so do the roles and responsibilities of those employed therein.  Murdock emphasizes the expectation that women should not turn their back on maternal roles compared to men and the obvious absence of the same.  Unnithan and Srivastava discuss barriers toIndia’s pracheta and sathin’s ability to move “up the ladder”.  Barriers are not removed but placed elsewhere in the chain of responsibility.  Herdman’s review of gender and nursing in Turkey reveals that men are viewed as more reliable, devoted, and harder working than women.  She blames gender definitions, patriarchical stereotypes, and the culture of the organization itself.  These factors are not limited to India and Turkey but are evident in theUnited Statesas well.  Men tend to seek out more technical and powerful nursing positions but not necessarily middle management.  I interview both male and female nurses who have been nursing for at least five years and identify their greatest struggles working alongside the opposite gender as well as the advantages it brings.  This visualizing development project will be in the form of a digital story.  I will tell about my experience conducting the ethnographic research and the process of interviewing and analyzing the responses.  As the nurses I interview are co-workers, I must account for a certain degree of bias or ambiguity both on my part and my co-workers responses.  This video will be a reflection my attitude and perceptions.

 

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Gender in Nursing

I had never found interest in gender studies until very recently and I suppose it is because I didn’t want to see the disparity flourishing around me.  I mean come on, we live in the United States for heaven sake.  But, I realize that healthcare may very well be the perfect incubator for gender issues.  I work with significantly more female nurses than I do male nurses.  Yes, there are male nurses.  And no, not all male nurses are gay.  But, does it really matter? 

Please be aware that these are my own personal observations in the hospital setting in which I work and of course are not official statistics.  On that note, over the past few years I have seen an increase in men hired as nurses than in previous years.  The interesting thing is that most of them prefer a role that fundamentally carries a certain amount of power.  Almost all of the male nurses I work with will also take a charge position.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are managers but rather supervisors for the shift.  This also means that they tend to work in more technical units or areas such as the emergency department or the intensive care unit.  Have we created the need for men to feel empowered or is it in their nature?  We as women have not always been empowered and perhaps sometimes step aside. 

Unnithan and Srivastava refer to the impeding of vertical mobility of the sathin and pracheta of the Women’s Development Programme in India.  This concept can be applied here as well.  I think that as men integrate into nursing, the leadership roles are often given to men.  Is this because men fight for empowerment or do they truly display the required leadership qualities?  Herdman’s review of gender and nursing in Turkey reveals that men are viewed as more reliable, devoted, and harder working than women.  She blames gender definitions, patriarchical stereotypes, and the culture of the organization itself.  I think that could definitely apply to nursing in the US.  Women are still the caregivers and the ones to show compassion while men take on the management roles and control of power.

Refer to the image from the American Assembly for Men in Nursing.  It does not relay compassion or caring, terms often used to describe women.  It it used to entice men into the “adrenaline-saturated” field of Operating Room nursing.  Could this be considered a position of power?  The AAMN certainly think so.  What characteristics does it really take to be a nurse?  Are they ignoring that the care of the patient should always come first?  I think this image gives men false hope of an exciting and rewarding career while the emotional deposit required in caring for those undergoing a life threatening event is not communicated.

Ethnography and Policy

Policy-themed ethnography relies on cooperation.  Without cooperation, implementation of policy is not successful.  This includes the private sector, governments and their officials, the frontline implementors as well as those whom the policy is acted upon (this could include community leaders).  Mosse argues in “Is Good Policy Unimplementable? Reflections on the Ethnography of Aid Policy and Practice” that for the sustainability of the policy, social support must be strong and continuous.  But then there is the instability of numbers.  As more and more people become involved in a project, the less stable it becomes.  What is that number or where is the line? 

My visualizing ethnography project will involve myself and two nurses.  Since it is not a large long-term ethnographic study but a relatively short introduction into ethnography, I do not foresee any large degree of political discourse.  I do not have an investor to answer to (only fictitious) nor am I implementing policy change.  I am however, looking at the politics of gender in nursing.  This project could open the Pandora’s Box of unspoken norms that take place between male and female coworkers, their patients, and perhaps even management.  There may be issues as to whom I interview.  Why did I choose one person over another?  What if I was looking to change policy?  Let’s say that every female patient who had a male nurse required a female “chaperone” when any procedures were physically revealing or intimately personal.  Who would be involved in the discussion of this policy change?  Perhaps the nursing officer, male and female staff nurses, middle management, and prospective patients.  Do we need to include the physicians?  I see what Mosse was discussing.  The implementation of policy requires diverse input but how much input is too much?  I personally have a male physician, but I know some women prefer female doctors.  Whose opinion is the majority opinion and how do we make that distinction?

Global Pharmaceuticals

I work in the intensive care unit of a local hospital.  We handle hundreds of different drugs every day yet we are still limited by the hospital’s ‘formulary’.  This is a list of drugs the hospital has agreed to purchase and allow physicians and caregivers to prescribe and administer during a patient’s stay.  Protocols are written for the physicians to follow based on a patient’s diagnosis.  So, let’s say you have pneumonia.  Well, the doctor follows the protocol and prescribes the particular drug that our hospital has decided is the best IV antibiotic for treating pneumonia.  I am not witness to the marketing or subsequent acquisition of these medications.   How is the decision made and what is the basis: cost vs. effectiveness?  My little world in this metropolitan hospital is just a grain of salt compared to the global market.

According to the World Health Organization the global pharmaceuticals market is worth approximately $400 billion dollars.  How are they making such incredible amounts when populations who need the drugs the most in developing countries and can’t afford them?  Where is that money coming from?  Pharmaceutical companies are generally broken down into three divisions: marketing, research and development, and production.  Over fifty percent of outgoing money is spent on marketing.  Why not the research and development?

Most companies are outsourcing the production of the drugs and moving overseas to international locales in an attempt to control overhead.  Of course employment is provided for the local community but I wonder if the wages and terms of employment fair.  Inda and Rosaldo refer to globalization as a process of maximizing capital.  Well, the drug companies try to portray an image of humanity but the more I investigate I find it still is the almighty dollar driving the production and marketing of each drug.

I happened upon a blog written by a marketing consultant for drug companies.  He writes that China is an up and coming powerhouse for drug production. China is working on introducing many of its ancient medicinal resources into a modern pill or oral solution.  Check out this link with photos of the pharmaceutical’s new headquarters.  A little over the top, eh? 

http://ibankcoin.com/news/2011/09/10/shock-photos-china-rubs-transfer-of-wealth-in-americas-face/

A few of the pharmaceuticals provide free drugs to developing countries in an effort to control or erradicate a particular disease.  Smith Kline Beecham has given millions of dollars in drugs in an effort to erradicate lymphatic filariasis (also known as elephantiasis).  This disease is indeed considered erradicated in Fiji.  But is it enough?  I have only begun my investigation into the global drug market but I’m finding it to be a lot to wade through.  I will need to look into patents, lack of research and corporate control to say the least as I continue my research.

Introduction

My name is Jennifer and I am very new to the world of blogging.  In fact, you will not find me on Facebook nor any other online social networking site (I just recently succumbed to text messaging).  I’m not sure if that makes me “old school”, stubborn, or both.  I treasure my privacy and part of that may be spurred by the idea that I feel I’ve not lived up to my potential.  So, hiding must the best method of protection.  I am a 25th year undergrad anticipating graduation after this semester.  It is both exciting and frightening.  Can I really be done?  It is amazing how much I didn’t learn…

I am excited for this semester and plan to perhaps venture out of my comfort zone because if I don’t, the scenery will never change.