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Gender and embodiment in nursing: the role of the female chaperone in the infertility clinic.

Allan, HT (2005) Gender and embodiment in nursing: the role of the female chaperone in the infertility clinic. Nurs Inq, 12 (3). pp. 175-183.

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This paper develops previous work on theories of embodiment by drawing on empirical data from a study into the experiences of infertile women in the UK. I suggest experiences of embodiment shape the preferences of infertile women for a female nurse as chaperone during intimate medical procedures. I explore the impact of this role on the understandings and meanings of nursing in a highly gendered field of practice. I present data from an ethnographic study of infertile women who chose to attend a British infertility clinic for investigation and fertility treatment cycles. Data were collected over 2 years using participant observation and semistructured interviews with 15 women and 20 members of staff in a British fertility unit. Data analysis was completed using a modified thematic analysis following Boyle and McEvoy. I discuss women's experiences of intimacy and bodily care and how these experiences might be understood by exploring the phenomenological concept of embodiment. I argue that women benefit from having a female nurse as chaperone because of their expectations of gender, nursing and caring. Women's expectations reinforce both notions of gendered caring and the gendered role of nursing. These data challenge notions of patriarchal professionalism prevalent in nursing, which seek to move away from the gendered role of the nurse (which traditionally included a chaperone role) towards a model of professional development based on a mind-body split. I suggest that these data offer a way of understanding the female embodied subject in the field of gendered caring, which is potentially transgressive because they suggest ways in which both mind and body can be integrated through the role of the female chaperone.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Date : September 2005
DOI : 10.1111/j.1440-1800.2005.00275.x
Uncontrolled Keywords : Anthropology, Cultural, Female, Great Britain, Humans, Infertility, Female, Mind-Body Relations, Metaphysical, Patient Satisfaction, Physical Examination, Professional-Patient Relations, Sex Factors
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 09:18
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 16:32

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