How does this dual autoethnography provide insight into the journey of women into a new occupational field? Is it useful for a general audience? Chapters 6 and 7 were assigned to give you a different format to look at. Were they helpful or confusing?


  1. Grace Kiernan

    This dual autoethnography was interesting and confusing all at once. I had difficulty differentiating between who was talking, who was thinking, and who the omniscient narrator was, and whether all were the same person or not. I also felt that the citation style within the text was clunky to read. All that being said, I do think I got a glimpse into what it’s like to be a nurse, not only in terms of professional challenges, but also regarding personal struggles. The narrator of chapter 7 made it clear that she does not know whether other nurses will necessarily identify with her experiences but, in true autoethnographic fashion, explains that some quality of her research and work should strike an important chord with readers. While I did find parts hard to follow, I do think a chord was struck with me. The concept that nurses, females in particular, may struggle to maintain self-worth surprised me, but then through anecdotes began to make sense. I also think presenting the patient view and the nurse view was effective, acknowledging the gap in perception and experience between those giving and receiving care. Lydia seemed to be someone with the best, most genuine interests at heart, but who was often confronted with roadblocks in the forms of bureaucracy, superiors, co-workers, and patients. She represents, in my opinion, someone who does not want too play within the system to create change, but rather would toss the system out in favor of a more noble one. MLK was always a proponent of fighting the system’s inadequacies from within it, but Lydia has a point. It seems that for a female nurse to be heard, there are a lot more barriers than I would have expected. I also did not necessarily recognize the toll on mental health nursing takes on those who practice it vocationally.

    • ProfSi

      I agree with your comments, Grace. However, this piece made me think about teachers, who are overwhelmingly women. I have done many workshops with teachers, and have observed that they all lack a certain amount of agency. The elementary school teachers are extremely passive and are afraid to state their opinions even without their principals present. We know that when men enter a field, it raises the pay and the status of the field. In public education, the men seem to rise quickly to the top, while the women are relegated to the classroom. This was someone’s thesis, so it was a bit of a ramble.

  2. Jeff Lowe

    I think that these autoethnographies both give an extensive look into the connection between occupation and self worth/value, as well as, how our place in occupational hierarchies affects our view of our work. The fact that both of these women are seeing, experiencing, and then describing the same thing gives it more emphasis to be examined. Why do we have these emotional attachments to our work and how do we let them color the way we feel about ourselves? I believe that it is useful for general audiences because I had never considered that there was a difference in the experience of mental health nurses. My father is a nurse and often talks about the doctor-nurse hierarchy but I had never considered one within nursing. I found the inclusion of the stories difficult at first but after continuing to read it started to make more sense. I felt the same way about some of the way stories were told in “Understanding Narrative Inquiry”.

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