I belong to several Medical Humanities mailing lists which is a lesser known subject that makes for a potentially useful though little used combination of those rather daft letters after my name, RGN (Registered General Nurse) RSCN (Registered Sick Children's Nurse) RHV (Registered Health Visitor)These earn the money to enjoy the pure unadulterated pleasure I have had from the BA (Hons) Literature.
Usually the list messages just induce a state of envy about a conference in the US that I'd love to go to but can't. Calls for papers come in and occasionally something of real interest.
With the current state of finances in the NHS Medical Humanities would seem to be struggling to maintain its profile as a discipline and there's a few thousand words here attempting to defend it.Must all surely be coming under microscopic funding scrutiny right now. Lose it I suspect at our peril if we focus entirely on medicine as a clinical discipline that neglects the simple fact that we are all thinking, feeling people with a narrative of our own that deserves to be listened to and can really have a huge impact when illness comes along.
There's a highly recommended book on that subject, The Wounded Storyteller by Arthur Frank I've heard him speak and he is a remarkable man.
This call for papers is for a conference this year in Pennsylvania. I'll never write the paper and doubt I'll be able to put a trip to the US on my monthly mileage sheet (33.5p per mile if I could drive it) but often these ideas can really wake up my reading and this one has done just that, it gets a bit techno-academic towards the end but the gist has really got the antennae waving.
This panel will explore representations of the nurse in literature, film,
and/or television and the relation of those representations to the status
of nurses professionally and socially. Papers might contextualize classic
images of the nurse such as found in Edith Wharton's *The Fruit of the
Tree* or Milos Forman's *One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest* or they might
address representations that challenge existing stereotypes, such as the
male nurses found in *Magnolia* and *Angels in America*; they could address
nineteenth-century ideologies of nursing evolving in the writing of
Dickens, Nightingale, or Alcott, or they might discuss contemporary
representations of nursing as found on television programs like *ER* and
*Scrubs*. All papers should work toward unpacking the ideologies of
nursing, interwoven with broader gender issues and constructs, as a means
of informing current concerns about the profession, such as nurses'
continued subordination in the medical hierarchy, the shortage of nurses,
and issues around nursing and immigration, all related to the conference's
theme of "health, medicine, and inequality." Proposals are welcome from
those with a clinical background as well as training in literary studies.
Buried in there is a message to me about an author I've been meaning to revisit for ages and as Louisa May Alcott obviously had something to say on the subject she must be added to yesterday's list of US women writers I shall be reading in 2007.