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The Economics of Nursing: Articulating Care


  • Valerie Adams
  • Julie Nelson


Nurses in many industrialized countries are under pressure to prove that the care they provide is cost effective and an appropriate use of scarce healthcare funding. Attempts to describe what nursing care involves, however, have not yet resulted in a generally accepted articulation that is fully up to this task. This essay analyzes how Cartesian dualisms of mind versus body and knowledge versus virtue have contributed to the inadequacy of many current descriptions of nursing. The authors explore how a non-dualistic, practice-enhancing rhetoric might be developed, particularly in light of healthcare finance issues affecting college-educated nurses in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The authors present a diagram as a suggested tool for thinking that may help bring attention to neglected and undervalued aspects of nursing care. Special challenges in geriatric care are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Valerie Adams & Julie Nelson, 2009. "The Economics of Nursing: Articulating Care," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 3-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:15:y:2009:i:4:p:3-29
    DOI: 10.1080/13545700903153971

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Zohreh Emami, 2013. "Teaching and learning for economic life," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life, chapter 6, pages 77-90 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Alessandro Fedele, 2015. "Well-Paid Nurses are Good Nurses," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS24, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
    3. Nelson, Julie A., 2011. "Would Women Leaders Have Prevented the Global Financial Crisis? Implications for Teaching about Gender, Behavior, and Economics," Working Papers 179096, Tufts University, Global Development and Environment Institute.
    4. Julie A. Nelson, 2013. "Gender and caring," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life, chapter 5, pages 62-76 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Wilfred Dolfsma, 2013. "Government Failure," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15372, December.
    6. Julie A. Nelson, 2011. "11-03 "Would Women Leaders Have Prevented the Global Financial Crisis? Implications for Teaching about Gender, Behavior, and Economics"," GDAE Working Papers 11-03, GDAE, Tufts University.

    More about this item


    Nursing; health economics; aging; Cartesianism; body; care;


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