Taking account of culture: Limits to the development of a professional ethos
The need to extend the discussion of culture in the study of nursing, combined with an enthusiasm for the possibility of viewing nursing from a new perspective, provides the impetus for this study. Based on fieldwork undertaken in the intensive care unit (RICU) of a major public hospital in Rome (Italy), this paper explores some of the key aspects of the social relations and local staff culture of one particular group of Italian nurses. In a climate of globalisation, where the deployment of dominant Anglo-American ideas is difficult to counter, the RICU presents as a setting which challenges the widespread assumptions of universal standards of nursing practice. By building picture of the working world of these particular nurses, we are assisted in our understanding of nursing practice as a local cultural activity. In exploring the significance of local culture this paper brings into question the universality of the current paradigm of professionalism and professional identity, and emphasizes the value of acknowledging the importance of local culture.
© 2005 Blackwell Publishing. The definitive version is available at [www.blackwell-synergy.com.]