We cannot staff for ‘what ifs’: the social organization of rural nurses’ safeguarding work
Abstract:MACKINNON K. Nursing Inquiry 2012; 19: 259–269 We cannot staff for ‘what ifs’: the social organization of rural nurses’ safeguarding work
Rural nurses play an important role in the provision of maternity care for Canadian women. This care is an important part of how rural nurses safeguard the patients who receive care in small rural hospitals. This study utilized institutional ethnography as an approach for describing rural nursing work and for exploring how nurses’ work experiences are socially organized. Rural nurses advocated for safe healthcare environments by ensuring that skilled nurses were available for every shift, day and night, at their local hospital. Rural nurses noted that this work was particularly difficult for the provision of maternity care. This article explores two threads or cues to institutional organization that were identified in our interviews and observations; namely staffing and safety standards, and the need for flexibility in staffing in small rural hospitals. Rural nurses’ concerns about ensuring that skilled nurses are available in small rural hospitals do not enter into current management discourses that focus on efficiency and cost savings or find a home within current discourses of patient safety ‘competencies’.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Publication date: September 1, 2012