Writing place: a comparison of nursing research and health geography Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The concept of 'place', and general references to 'geographies of ...' are making gradual incursions into nursing literature. Although the idea of place in nursing is not new, this recent spatial turn seems to be influenced by the increasing profile of the discipline of health geography, and the broadening of its scope to incorporate smaller and more intimate spatial scales. A wider emphasis within the social sciences on place from a social and cultural perspective, and a wider turn to 'place' across disciplines are probably equally important factors. This trend is raising some interesting questions for nurses, but at the same time contributes some confusion with regard to imputed meanings of 'place'. While it is clear that most nurse clinicians and researchers certainly understand that place of care matters to their practices and patients, many diverse uses of 'place' are found within nursing literature, and contemporary understandings of the term 'place' within nursing are not immediately clear. It is in this context that this article plans to advance the discussion of place. More specifically, the aims of this paper are threefold: to critique 'place' as it appears in nursing literature, to explore the use of 'place' within health geography, whence notions of place and 'geographies of' have originated and, finally, to compare and contrast the use of 'place' in both disciplines. This critique intends to address a deficit in the literature, in this era of growing spatialization in nursing research. The specific questions of interest here are: 'what is "place" in nursing?' and 'how do concepts of place in nursing compare to concepts of place in health geography?'

publication date

  • September 2006

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