Ordinary men and uncommon women: A history of psychiatric nursing in New Zealand public mental hospitals, 1939-1972

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dc.contributor.author Prebble, Catherine en
dc.date.accessioned 2012-05-11T01:15:44Z en
dc.date.issued 2007 en
dc.identifier.citation PhD Thesis. University of Auckland, 2007 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/17900 en
dc.description.abstract This social-cultural history explores the changing context, culture, and identity of psychiatric nurses working in New Zealand public mental hospitals between 1939 and 1972. Primary documentary sources and oral history interviews provided the data for analysis. The thesis is divided into two periods: 1939 to 1959 when asylum-type conditions shaped the culture of the institutional workforce, and 1960 to 1972 when mental health reform and nursing professionalisation challenged the isolation and distinct identity of mental hospital nurses. Between 1939 and 1959 the introduction of somatic treatments did not substantially change nursing practice in mental hospitals. Overcrowding, understaffing and poor resources in the asylum-type institutions necessitated the continuance of custodial care. Although female nurses provided all the care on the female wards, the belief that psychiatric nursing was physically demanding, potentially dangerous, and morally questionable, characterised the work as more suitable for men. Introduction of psychiatric nursing registration which was a move toward professionalisation did little to change the dominance of a male, working-class culture. From 1960 to 1972 psychiatric nurses, identity was contested. New therapeutic roles created the possibility of the nurses becoming health professionals. Their economic security and occupational power, however, was tied to an identity as unionised, male workers. By accepting the notion that psychiatric nurses, identity was socially constructed, this thesis provides an interpretation that goes beyond the assumption that nursing is a woman,s profession. Instead, it presents psychiatric nursing as a changing phenomenon shaped by contested discourses of gender, class and professionalisation. Nursing in public mental hospitals attracted ordinary men and uncommon women whose collective identity was forged from the experience of working in a stigmatised role. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Ordinary men and uncommon women: A history of psychiatric nursing in New Zealand public mental hospitals, 1939-1972 en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.grantor University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.author-url http://hdl.handle.net/2292/1516 en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/RestrictedAccess en
pubs.elements-id 76934 en
dc.relation.isnodouble 2483 *
pubs.org-id Medical and Health Sciences en
pubs.org-id Nursing en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2010-09-01 en

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