Nursing as Vocation
Nursing Ethics 2002 May; 9(3): 279-290
In this article the author argues that nursing is best understood as a vocational occupation. Using Blum's model of vocations it is argued that such occupations are socially expressed within practices embodying traditions, norms and a range of meanings: industrial, social, personal and moral. Vocational workers are those who identify in certain ways with these traditions, norms and meanings. One problem with the vocational model, as it has historically applied to nursing, is that it has been articulated through concepts of motherhood. Nursing was a vocation precisely because the character of the nurse was identified as feminine. The author argues that the vocational model for nursing can be conceptually disentangled from its identification with ideals of motherhood and femininity. It is nursing work and the identification with the moral and social meaning of nursing that give nursing its vocational status, not the feminized character of the nurse.
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