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Title: Motivation to nurse : what is the place of vocation and altruism in primary care careers?
Author: Carter, Melody
ISNI:       0000 0004 2694 3357
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2009
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The British nursing workforce is vast and well established but the recruitment and retention of qualified, competent, affordable and motivated individuals is an enduring challenge. The work of nurses and nursing has always been a complex subject to investigate partly because of its complex history and especially because it is in a state of continual change and development. For nurses working in primary care settings these changes are having a particular impact as they undergo the biggest organisational change in the NHS since 1948 (DH 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2008). Understanding these changes and their impact on the experience and motivation of nurses to practise is central to workforce and practice development. The theoretical ideas of French scholar Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) have been used to explore and interpret the way that career motivations have been expressed in nursing with a particular focus on vocation and altruism. These ideas have been applied to community nursing to explore motivation through the process of acquisition and exchange of various forms of capital during a life and career history. The concepts of field and habitus have also been applied to the analysis of data. This has been undertaken within a reflexive methodology that has attempted to take into consideration the social' world of both the researcher and the researched. Twelve community nurses (health visitors, district nurses and practice nurses) were recruited from peTs in the South West of England. They volunteered to participate in the study within which, in the course of a long interview, they related their life history and views about the place of vocation and altruism in their own career journey. Through these interactive interviews, the nurses recount memories of their earliest experiences of becoming nurses and the events and issues that shaped their careers. A thematic analysis of the content of these interviews was undertaken. These vivid and challenging accounts offered insight into the experiences that have shaped and motivated their careers.Through an application of the ideas of Bourdieu the following have been discussed: • Atrocity stories: the emergence of difficult experiences in the field and their epiphanic role; • Symbolic capital and violence in the pursuit of a long nursing career; • Vocation and altruism as features of the habitus in women's work. These findings raise some questions about the continuing dependence on vocation, altruism and other emotional and ideological expressions of goodwill. The findings challenge the ongoing reliance on such factors amongst policy makers and others with a responsibility for developing and directing the nursing workforce. This thesis argues that the generalised use of such terms is limiting and somewhat blind to the conditions of society in terms of situation, class, gender and culture where women's work is concerned. Moreover it is stated that it is also a risky position to have patients' experience subject to such arbitrary and individually defined motives. A deeper understanding of the motivation to nurse matters for all these reasons especially if such motives are not to be undermined or misunderstood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available