Accepted paper:

Narratives about the nursing profession in Bangladesh: views and experiences of nurses working in Dhaka


Susana Marcos Alonso (Universitat de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

The definition of nurses as the deliverers of care to the sick people could seem universal, but the ways in which this care is delivered vary according to the context. The tensions between this hegemonic definition and the current practices of nurses are especially visible Bangladesh.

Paper long abstract:

Care of the sick has never been exclusive to nurses, and this makes difficult the delimitation of its professional boundaries. Unfortunately the history of nursing has been traditionally concentrated in Europe and North-America, and more research is needed about nursing in other continents. The analysis of the context in which nursing profession was born is crucial to understand the religious and moral connotations of the profession, many of which persisted until now. Research about nursing in Bangladesh has shown a big gap between the Westernized image of nursing profession transmitted in the academic and training institutions, and the actual practice of many nurses in the country. The reasons for that contradiction have already been studied and shown a complex interaction between historical, socioeconomic and cultural factors. The present research proposes a phenomenological study about the experiences of nurses working in different settings in Dhaka (where the highest concentration of Bangladeshi nurses can be found). The individual experiences of the informants will be contextualized in the broader Bangladeshi and international society. The reconstruction of their professional and personal histories can contribute to the comprehension of the changes that the profession has experienced in the last decades as well as its current situation, especially the apparent contradictions between different discursive levels and nurses' daily lives.

panel G56
New Directions in Anthropology