Man, Work, and Society: A Reader in the Sociology of Occupations

By Sigmund Nosow; William H. Form | Go to book overview

NOTES
1.
Oswald Hall, "The Informal Organization of Medical Practice in an American City" (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Chicago, 1944).
2.
M. Leven, The Incomes of Physicians, "Publications of the Committee of the Costs of Medical Care," No. 24, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1932.
3.
Oswald Hall, "The Informal Organization of the Medical Profession," Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, Vol. 12, February 1946, pp. 30-44.

2. THE OCCUPATIONAL STATUS OF NURSES*

· George Devereux and Florence R. Weiner

It was during the 1860-1930 period that nursing first emerged as a distinct and secular profession, primarily engaged in by women, and, more particularly, by unmarried women. Although there is at present a tendency to encourage men to enter the profession of nursing--out of a total of 1215 schools, there are today four schools for male nurses--and 123 coeducational schools of nursing1--it is, nonetheless, fair to say that a large segment of the role and status of persons engaged in nursing is still determined by the close initial nexus between women and the bedside care of the sick.

. . . . .

Yet, on the whole, if one disregards some unusual and relatively marginal phenomena, which are determined by special local or social conditions, Veblen2 was right in stating that most masculine and/or upper-class tasks fall into the category of "exploit," while most feminine and/or lower-class tasks can be classified as "drudgery."

In seeking to analyze social conceptions regarding the "nature" of women, which have played such an important role in determining the function and status of nurses, we are in an unusually favorable position, since the exact date at which nursing, as an independent and secular profession, originated, is well known, as is the ideology of that period regarding the special "natural" attributes of the sexes. Thus, since secular nursing originated in a predominantly masculine society, in which the role of the sexes and their "natural" attributes were conceived of primarily in terms of masculine needs and convenience, it was natural that nursing should have been defined in a manner which satisfied three typical masculine needs.

____________________
*
AUTHORS NOTE: Sponsored by the V.A. and published with the approval of the Chief Medical Director. The statements and conclusions published by the authors are a result of their own study and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of the Veterans' Administration.

-486-

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