This paper considers the spatial dynamics of nurse-patient relationships within hospitals, primarily in the USA, under conditions of organizational restructuring, and situates them within social theoretical perspectives on space. As a human practice to which relationship is considered essential, nursing depends upon sustaining an often taken-for-granted proximity to patients. But hospital nursing, I argue in this paper, is increasingly constrained by spatial-structural practices that disrupt relationship and reduce or eliminate such proximity. Three kinds of proximity are threatened: physical, narrative, and moral. Examining these proximities through a place-space lens suggests that nursing is increasingly "distal" to patient care. There are potentially dangerous implications in this loss of proximity.
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Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
Issue (Month): 11 (June)
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