Pub. Date:
The University of North Carolina Press
Devices and Desires: Gender, Technology, and American Nursing / Edition 1

Devices and Desires: Gender, Technology, and American Nursing / Edition 1

by Margarete Sandelowski
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Nursing and technology have been inexorably linked since the beginnings of trained nursing in the United States in the late nineteenth century. Whether or not they thought of the devices they used as technology, nurses have necessarily used a variety of tools, instruments, and machines—from thermometers to cardiac monitors—to appraise, treat, and comfort patients. Tracing the relationship between nursing and technology from the 1870s to the present, Margarete Sandelowski argues that technology has helped shape and intensify persistent dilemmas in nursing and that it has both advanced and impeded the development of the profession.

Sandelowski examines key moments in the history of nursing that dramatize the ironies of the nursing-technology relationship. She demonstrates that nurses both embraced and rejected technology in their pursuit of cultural visibility and professional autonomy—with varying amounts of success.

As one of the domains of female work historically most subject to sex segregation, Sandelowski notes, nursing provides an ideal site in which to examine the interplay of technology and gender.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807848937
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 11/27/2000
Series: Studies in Social Medicine
Edition description: 1
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Margarete Sandelowski is Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Her books include Pain, Pleasure, and American Childbirth: From the Twilight Sleep to the Read Method, 1914-1960 and With Child in Mind: Studies of the Personal Encounter with Infertility.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This book brings together Margarete Sandelowski's work on technology/nursing relations in a sustained historical and cultural analysis in order to explore nursing, gender and technology studies.—Nursing Inquiry

A perceptive analysis of the nurse/technology relationship, exposing the gendered assumptions underlying nurses' work with machines and equipment. . . . This book should be read by historians of technology and medical and nursing historians. [It] offers a distinctive context of contemporary health care and covers women—nurses—who receive little attention, despite their status as one of the largest groups of women workers.—American Historical Review

In Devices and Desires, Margarete Sandelowski uses a different lens—the world of medical technology—to explore the issue of gender and nursing. This brilliant book shows just how much the 'charitable, devotional and altruistic' image of the nurse conceals.—Nation

Margarete Sandelowski's latest book, Devices and Desires, continues her groundbreaking scholarship on technology and its relationships with nursing and the care of patients. Sandelowski employs the perspective of time to illuminate her themes of the 'promise and paradox' of technology and caregiving. This book is a must read for all concerned with competent, compassionate care and for all who hope to better understand the world we work and live in.—Joan E. Lynaugh, University of Pennsylvania

Through her nuanced account of the complex and unintended consequences of technological change, Sandelowski expands and deepens our understanding of both nursing and technology.—Technology and Culture

Make[s] a valuable contribution to the history of technology and the history of nursing.—Isis

This elegantly written book is one of the best histories of nursing available today. Devices and Desires is one of the best case studies of the impact of technology on work that I have ever read; it will make a profound contribution to the literature on labor history. Sandelowski is philosophically acute, especially when she explores the nature of human/machine interactions. Readers who are interested in gender studies will also be fascinated by this exploration of gender and technological change.—Ruth Schwartz Cowan, State University of New York at Stony Brook

A first-rate book that anyone interested in health care should be familiar with. . . . Devices & Desires can help set standards for health professionals who wish to use their own experience to illuminate historical issues. . . . Sandelowski is a fluent writer and an erudite and sensitive scholar. . . . Know this book; use it to broaden your own and your students' perspectives in all these areas.—Bulletin of the History of Medicine

[A] unique exploration of the impact of technology on nursing care.—Choice

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