Gender and Role Assignments in the Institutional Hierarchy
As stipulated in the previous chapter, with the adoption of the corporate (business) and medical models by hospitals, the moral inhabitability of these institutional settings as both educational as well as work environments for nurses has created an identity crisis amongst its ranks. Yet the adversity, moral distress and dissatisfaction experienced by nurses within institutional settings have been attributed to other nurses and staff within the system and not enculturalization and subsequent identity formation to the system. Male gender role assignments within wider society have long been purported to be a major contributor to nursing’s ‘handmaiden’ status within these establishments as well, due to its mostly female ranks. Historically, female gender role assignments have also been successfully used by nurse leaders to elevate and distinguish both the profession as well as women’s contribution to the art and science of healing, at a time when neither was valued in the marketplace. This chapter explores the role that gender plays within health care organizational culture and its relationship to humanitarian endeavours within the system.
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