Disciplinary power and its influence on the administration and supply of medications by nurses in rural areas of Australia

Authors

  • Desley Hegney RN RM DNE ACAE BA(HONS) NE PhD SCU FCN(NSW) FRCNA

    1. Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland 4350, Australia
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Abstract

Hegney D. International Journal of Nursing Practice 1998; 4: 144–150

Disciplinary power and its influence on the administration and supply of medications by nurses in rural areas of Australia

This paper reports on aspects of a larger study into rural nursing practice in Australia, 1991–94 (D. Hegney, unpublished data, 1996). Using a Foucauldian framework for analysis of the rural nursing discourses, it presents an interpretation of the statements regarding the administration and supply of medications in rural nursing practice. In particular, it focuses on the supply and administration of medications by rural nurses working in small rural health services. It explains that there are particular issues regarding telephone medication orders and the consequent verification of these orders. It suggests that rural medical practitioners use the power of legislation with regard to the administration and supply of medications to subjugate rural nursing practice. It argues that the nursing profession itself has used, through its silence on the inadequacy of the current Poison Acts and their Regulations, disciplinary power to ensure that rural nursing practice is normalised to metropolitan nursing practice. Further, the lack of educational preparation for this rural nursing role, can be seen as a pedagogical control of rural nursing practice. This paper recommends that the Statute Law regarding the administration and supply of medications be changed to reflect the reality of rural nursing practice, and that rural nurses are prepared adequately for this aspect of rural nursing practice.

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