Interdisciplinary Working Relationships of Health Care Staff in Late 20th Century Britain: A Cultural Study of Practices from the Past and Implications for the Present

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Authors: Angela Turner-Wilson, Bournemouth University, UK
Richard Fisher, Bournemouth University, UK
Holly Crossen-White, Bournemouth University, UK
Ann Hemingway, Bournemouth University, UK
Email: aturnerwilson@bournemouth.ac.uk
Published: November 12, 2018
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijcs.3.2.02

Citation: Turner-Wilson, A., Fisher, R., Crossen-White, H., Hemingway, A. (2018). Interdisciplinary Working Relationships of Health Care Staff in Late 20th Century Britain: A Cultural Study of Practices from the Past and Implications for the Present. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijcs.3.2.02


Abstract

Interdisciplinary working is a common phenomenon in healthcare in many countries throughout the world, yet the United Kingdom cultural history of this employment model appears to be under-researched. A pilot study was therefore undertaken that sought to obtain insights into this form of working in clinical environments during the latter part of the 20th century in Britain. The participants were all retired British National Health Service (NHS) professionals. An oral history approach was used, and in addition participants were also encouraged to handle old historical medical objects dated to the time period under review. Three of the themes that emerged from the narrative data analysis, “hierarchy” “altered hierarchy” and “the family”, are discussed, and the authors review how these concepts acted as enablers, and sometimes barriers, within interdisciplinary working. The authors also question whether, in recent times, there has been a change to the sense of “belongingness” that some of these ideas seemed to nurture. It is asked if, in the modern setting, some healthcare staff feel insecure as they no longer believe they are as supported, or as accepted by their interdisciplinary colleagues. The paper concludes by considering if the ideology of a “healthcare family” could speak to those currently engaged in clinical work today.

Keywords

culture, health care, history