En undersøgelse af den sygeplejefaglige identitet

Mika Krabbe

Student thesis: Master thesis


This paper has examined what the professional identity of the nurses is. Through interviews has it been possible to establish what the core value of nursing, according to the nurses, is. Not surprisingly, since many other studies have stated this, caring is seen as being of utmost importance to the nurses. However, what this paper has found, that the others have not, is a more in-depth description of what caring is, and why it is so important to the nurses. The results are, that nurses understand caring as taking care of the patients psychological and sociological needs, and they downplay the physiological needs of the patient. However, the nurses no longer exert caring for the patients, since this part of their job functions is given to the new coming health assistants. They thereby pose a threat to the nurses’ unique identity, just as the nurses’ are a threat to the doctors’ identity, since the nurses are now doing part of what used to be the doctors job functions. Through the application of social identity theory, it is a very normal procedure for a group to engage in inter-group differentiation and discrimination, when groups can no longer distinguish between the in-group and the out-group. This process of enlarging the difference between the groups is also a process, in which status can be acquired. Bourdieu explains that the battle for status, or in his words, the battle for the symbolic capital in the field, is a natural process, in which each group fight to gain domination of a specific field. In this study of the identity of the nurses, this battle is present, as the nurses overtake doctors’ job functions, and the new health assistants overtake nurses’ job function, and as a result, these professional groups engage in inter-group behavior, with severe effects for the patients. It is also concluded in this paper, that when caring is no longer part of the nurses’ job functions, this may result in fewer becoming nurses, since nurses are attracted to the possibility of caring for other people. This is seen as a major problem for the health section, because while there is so little status associated with the job as health assistants, very few of the potential nurses will become one.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages85