A suitable role : professional identity and nursing in India

Johnson, Sonali Elizabeth; (2011) A suitable role : professional identity and nursing in India. PhD thesis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17037/PUBS.00834552

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This dissertation examines the careers and collective professional identity of nurses working in India. It analyses the impact of gender, caste and class on the decision to enter nursing, the types of career opportunities envisaged by nurses, accounts of nursing practice in hospital settings and the professionalizing strategies debated by the profession's leaders to achieve greater social and professional legitimacy for Indian nurses. The backdrop to this study is the city of Bangalore, a quintessential example of an increasingly globalized India, commonly referred to as the country's 'Silicon Valley'. Bangalore is the site of numerous hospitals and medical facilities and has the largest concentration of nursing educational institutions in the country. As modern, urban India is increasingly characterized by the unravelling of traditional forms of social stratification, the study examines social change within the profession of nursing and its repercussions for the professional identity of nurses. The research draws upon literature from the sociology of professions as a theoretical framework and examines the relevance of these theories to the study setting so as to develop new understandings of nursing culture in a non-Western context. The findings of the study include evidence of a 'collectivist' rather than an 'individualistic' approach to career decision-making in which the presence of 'nurse families' and community networks serve as important social and professional resources. Given the traditional associations with nursing and low status work, the study demonstrates how the professional project of nursing is focused around achieving collective social mobility. The dissertation discusses the importance of migration as a professional 'asset' and highlights contemporary debates around further education and specialization as strategies to achieve greater social and economic rewards for Indian nurses.

Item Type: Thesis
Thesis Type: Doctoral
Thesis Name: PhD
Contributors: Green, J (Thesis advisor);
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.550402
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/834552


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