Nursing as a profession is practised worldwide in hospitals, clinics, health centres, and individual homes. While there are universal definitions of nursing and universal criteria for training student nurses, the working reality that nurses face differs widely. This ethnography provides insights into the daily routine of nurses on a medical ward in a teaching hospital in Ghana. After a description of the historical development of nursing in Ghana, it analyses nurses' motives, the nature of their work, and power relations on the ward. The study also looks at perceptions of nursing in Ghanaian society. Trained in Western concepts of care, the nurses on the ward are confronted with demands and challenges not covered in their educational training, such as personnel shortage, limited equipment and financial restrictions. In addition, tradition, religion and the notion of respect influence the work of nurses. By reflecting on this profession and its position in the health care setting, the author shows how notions of health, care and death are shaped by the surrounding culture. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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Year of publication: 2010
Series: African Studies Collection
Volume: 23
Christine Böhmig
African Studies Centre
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