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Can theories of biographical disruption help us to make sense of the use of 'self' in nursing: The case of gay male nursing students.

Clarke, David 2015. Can theories of biographical disruption help us to make sense of the use of 'self' in nursing: The case of gay male nursing students. Presented at: American Mens Studies Association 24th Conference on Masculinities, New York City, NY, USA, 4-8 March 2015.

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Illness and especially chronic illness is not just about suffering, but as a number of researchers have shown (Charmaz 2002, Williams 1984), illness can sometimes challenge the biographical sense of self and present the person with a chronic illness with issues of stigma. Valentine et al. (2009) assert that coming out narratives play a significant role in gay and lesbian histories and in the lives of many gay and lesbian students. This poster will present the findings of my research concerned with the use of 'self' by gay male student nurses and make sense of this using the theory of biographical/narrative disruption. In the course of my research it became apparent the the constitution of ones masculinity and sexuality interplayed with the performance of nursing and the negotiation of therapeutic relationships. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with eight gay male nursing students between 2009 and 2012. The theoretical framing of this research drew upon Goffman's theories of presentation and performance of the self and Rubin’s ‘charmed circle'. As part of my analysis a theme emerged around the use of self (as a gay man) in nursing practice. Coming out features in the narratives of the gay student nurses in a number of ways, as one would expect. One focus of their stories shows that the coming out experience for these students relates directly to their experience as nurses, the performance they engender and their practice of masculinity as nurses. The notions of compassion, caring and being non-judgemental, that the students attributed to the significance of the coming out experience is more complex than merely having more tolerant views generally. I argue that the students sense the similarities in the experience of illness and coming out, in that life, relationships and the sense of self is threatened re-shaped and consequently a revised self emerges.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2017 21:27

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