Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Making Sense of Senses in Expert Nursing
Journal article, Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionIhlebæk HM. Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Making Sense of Senses in Expert Nursing. Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology. 2018;46(4):477-497 https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/etho.12220
In this article, I draw on material from an ethnographic and phenomenological study of knowledge and professionalism among registered nurses working in a cancer unit at a Norwegian hospital. During the study, the use of the senses stood out as an important skill in nurses’ work with patients. The question to be investigated in this article is how the nurses acquire and use sensory knowledge in their clinical work. Building on a notion of knowledge as situated, embodied, and sensory, and learning as embedded in doing, this article contributes to and expands on the study of sensory knowledge in two respects. First, it foregrounds the processes and practices in which sensory knowledge is actually formed and used at a microlevel. Second, it highlights how an ethnographic and phenomenological exploration of the acquisition and use of sensory knowledge can contribute new insights into how expertise is cultivated in everyday clinical practice.