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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Spatial and temporal practices in interaction between doctors and nurses: a case study in a teaching hospital in Cape Town, South Africa
Author:Gibson, DianaISNI
Periodical:African Anthropology (ISSN 1024-0969)
Geographic term:South Africa
health personnel
Health and Nutrition
Labor and Employment
Education and Oral Traditions
Health, Nutrition, and Medicine
Education and Training
Abstract:The minutiae of ward rounds involving doctors, nurses and patients in a teaching hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, are used to analyse power in terms of a dialectical relationship between body, space and time, translating into a struggle over sites and stakes of power. Spatial and temporal practices on the wards and rounds were found to reflect differentiation and an asymmetrical distribution of power between medical and nursing staff, and between classes and genders. Medical staff persistently appropriated space and time, thereby effectively dominating both as a group. The least powerful, the patients, were often treated as markers in the space and time of the health care providers. The nurses, who had the most intimate bodily interaction with patients and who spent the most time with them, had the least control of their bed space, having to surrender this space at the whim of the doctors. Spatial and temporal practices also included the stratagems of participants to resist, such as the nurses withdrawing to a specific gendered space for time-out from the wards and medical control, and patients retreating under their blankets. A number of selected ward rounds are described, including the narratives of the participants. The research formed part of an intervention study designed to 'tailor' or individualize the level of care for hospital patients. App., bibliogr., notes, sum.