Sociology for nurses

Earle, Sarah and Denny, Elaine eds. (2005). Sociology for nurses. Polity Press.



Teaching sociology to nurses has become a significant issue within health sociology, reflected in the workshop, Teaching sociology to healthcare professionals in training, at the British Sociological Association’s Medical Sociology Conference in York, 2001. The new nursing curriculum acknowledges the need for the twenty-first century nurse to utilise knowledge from a range of disciplines when assessing patients/clients and deciding on an approach to care. Nursing is no longer (if it ever was) the sum of its tasks - or what nurses ‘do’ - but has become a complex set of relationships. Society has changed since the inception of the NHS, deference towards health professionals has lessened and individuals are more willing to challenge ‘experts’. Professional boundaries are also becoming less rigid, and many client groups are demanding a more active part in decision-making. The NHS itself has seen many reorganisations and nurses, along with other health care workers, have had to adapt to changing structures and ideologies of health care.

The impact of these changes has been immense and many nurses have found themselves at a loss in knowing how to prepare themselves for the new demands made of them. There are probably few nurses who would turn to sociology to provide any of the answers, as it is frequently perceived to be not of direct relevance. This book has, therefore, deliberately set out to demonstrate the usefulness of sociology by relating the concepts and theories of sociology and health policy to nursing practice, with examples from all four branches of nursing.

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