History, power and healthcare

Power as an issue in a healthcare setting is well recognised throughout the history of nursing and medicine.  The relationships that have been documented and which are related to power have often been used to define one profession in its role, scope and remit in practice.  

 A potential doctoral student would need to be familiar with the literature relating to the work of power as defined by Michel Foucault.  A candidate would be expected to be aware of the key thoughts and ideas of Foucault and be able to relate these to a specific idea or an appropriate issue of practice.    It may be useful to have some relevant historical empirical data for their focus, i.e. trial transcripts, nursing log books, admission records, secondary patients’ notes or interviews transcripts to utilise as a bias for consideration and exploration.   Depending upon the approach undertaken a critical genealogy of this data may be appropriate and from this, the doctoral work may then relate this to the contemporary setting.

Dr Alison O'Donnell