The double embarrassment: Understanding the actions of nursing staff in an unexpected situation

Authors

  • Anne Marie Sandvoll PhD student RN,

    Assistant Professor/PhD Student, Corresponding author
    • Faculty of Health Studies, Sogn og Fjordane University College, Førde, Norway
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kjell Kristoffersen PhD RN,

    Professor
    1. Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Solveig Hauge PhD RN

    Assosiate Professor
    1. Institute of Health and Society, Department of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
    2. Faculty of Health and Social Studies, Telemark University College, Porsgrunn, Norway
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence: Anne Marie Sandvoll, Faculty of Health Studies, Sogn og Fjordane University College, PO Box 523, NO–6800 Førde, Norway. Email: annemsa@hisf.no

Abstract

A nursing home is a complex multifactorial environment that influences the decisions and actions of nursing staff. Many of the actions performed by nursing staff appear to be straightforward or simple because they are repetitive, encompassing everyday activities such as helping a resident to get up in the morning, shower or get dressed. These daily activities are usually performed smoothly as part of normal care. This article draws on ethnographic data from a study of caring practices in a nursing home with the aim of investigating how a seemingly ordinary, but unexpected, event can develop into a chaotic situation. Staff appeared to have difficulty managing the situation, and they seemed to be disorganized in the application of their skills. First, we describe the situation in detail before investigating and discussing the situation to provide a deeper understanding of the complexity of nursing home practice.

Ancillary