Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

A Comparative Study of Actions and Beliefs Involving Family Caregivers of Hospitalized Children among Nurses in Sweden and Mozambique

Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

A Comparative Study of Actions and Beliefs Involving Family Caregivers of Hospitalized Children among Nurses in Sweden and Mozambique

Article excerpt

Abstract: This comparative study of Swedish and Mozambican nurses'beließ and actions in encounters with family caregivers was conducted by analyzing ethnographic fieldwork in pediatric hospital settings. The aim was to reveal similarities and diversities in their culturally embedded contexts. A total of 65 nurses were studied working in their daily practice. The analysis was guided by a theoretical framework of actions, such as social modes, ana of common think- ing in a professional group. The comparative findings, with cultural variations, revealed similarities in the nurses' organizing and demanding actions, as well as diversity in their eliciting actions. The nurses' beliefs concerned types of family caregivers and their activities. The findings reflect the diversity aligned to cultur- ally embedded conditions.

Key Words: Actions, Beliefs, Ethnography, Diversity, Family, Pediatric nurs- ing, Sub-Saharan Africa

Globally, family involvement and the presence of family caregivers, normally a parent, is an essential general element when children are hospitalized (Davies, 2010). Nurses have a specific re- sponsibility in the interaction with the family caregiv- ers in their everyday practice, by both day and night. Their interactions have been found to be important but also stressful for both parties (Casey, 1988; Dar- byshire, 1994; Kristensson, Hallström & Elander, 1994; Coyne, 1996; Callery, 1997; Shields, 2001a; Ygge, 2004). Hospital life represents in many ways a condensation and intensification of life in general. Hospital wards are places of intensity and create moments of reality in life for families of sick children. A hospital ward is invaded and shaped by all the professionals engaged, and their stock of professional knowledge and cul- turally embedded actions. The professional work is organized and the professionals act in different situa- tions, on the basis of knowledge. The nurses thus act and in a way that is meaningful to them (Schutz, 1967). A specific ward, with its characteristics, also implies that the professionals (such as the group of nurses) share beliefs and ideas as 'common thinking,' which then influences the way they act in everyday situations (Schutz, 1967; Moscovici, 1998). The embedded cultural conditions are shaped by society, organizational hos-

pital culture, nursing culture influenced by a personal view of generic care gained from family tradition, and the nurses' professional view of caring for children and families learned in nursing training (Lipson (1999). It is obvious that for nurses in their caring work the pres- ence of families reflects and reinforces the embedded social and cultural processes. A South African nursing researcher (Haegert, 2000) emphasizes that the Afri- can communal way of living plays a major role and influences interaction in all kinds of social institutions, including the hospital ward. She argues that the socio- cultural circumstances and the community-oriented traditions in African culture influence all nursing care. Further, the medical authorities determine many of the rocedures which are undertaken. Villiers and Tjale 2000), as well as Zaman (2004), state that the values inherent in medical science complicate all relation- ships in hospital settings. When comparing the care of children in hospital in Western countries, such as Australia and Great Britain, with Eastern countries, such as Indonesia and Thailand, Shields (2001b) found that the staff members in Indonesia and Thailand were more influenced by the prevailing culture of medical dominance (Shields, 2001b).

Comparative studies will diversify the understand- ing of culturally embedded beliefs and actions in such an essential global phenomenon as nurses' encoun- tering family caregivers of hospitalized children. A Swedish ethnographic study of nurses' encounters with parents was carried out by the author (Söderbäck, 1999), as well as an ethnographic study of Mozambican nurses' encounters with family caregivers (Söderbäck & Christensson, 2007). …

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