Patient as individual or part of the hospital machinery -tensions in hospital ward
Department of Social Policy University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland
The social situations and practices of the hospital ward are determined and build by different human, social and technological elements. Situations and practises constitute multidimensional processes and hybrids where different kind of agents, interests, ways of thinking and acting, and logics of action encounter. I focus on especially those situations and practises where tensions, contradictions or conflicts emerge. What kind of different ways of thinking or logics of action are found behind the contradictions and why they are contradictory?
The ethnographic data was collected by participant observation on three internal wards in southern Finland in 2006 and 2008. The data includes episodes written down by the researcher, sickroom observations, interviews and documents like patients' files.
The data shows the principal difference between the logics of actions is localized between the ideal of the patient?s individuality and a need for the hospital to be productive and effective. This tension appears especially 1) in way how hospital governs the patient?s time, 2) as the alternation of privacy and publicity and 3) in discharging practices. In my presentation, I will focus on privacy and publicity in the hospital ward and show for example how hospital machinery considers textual as private whereas verbal as public.