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Constituting Modern Matron: exploring role, identity and action in an English NHS Trust

Matykiewicz, Liz (2011) Constituting Modern Matron: exploring role, identity and action in an English NHS Trust. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The English National Health Service (NHS) is a contested organisational terrain where what it means to be ‘professional’ is under threat from a dominant ‘new managerialism’ discourse. Sustained organisational change and reform during the past thirty years has impacted on the nature of professional work and role relationships between health care practitioners, managers, patients and the public. Identity is a useful analytic frame for exploring professional role dynamics and has pertinence for studies of health care professionals as they negotiate these changes. This study considers professional identity as constructed through the enactment of a nursing role, Modern Matron, in an English NHS Trust. The role has been introduced into the nursing hierarchy in response to public and political demand for an authoritative clinical leader to take responsibility for managing standards of care within nursing; it is a hybrid management role, performed across professional and managerial boundaries, and across different organisational levels. The research has been conducted within an interpretive paradigm of social constructivism; qualitative data from semi-structured interviews is the primary source from which findings are drawn. The findings illustrate the contradictory nature of the Modern Matron role as performed across occupational and organisational boundaries and within competing discourses of professionalism, managerialism and holistic patient-centred care. The empirical contribution of this research is to suggest that the Modern Matron role is constituted of multiple and different identities which are mediated through ‘syncretic action’ whereby individuals act singularly and collectively upon elements of competing discourses to create uniqueness in role and identity reflective of the specific structural, socio-political and historical circumstances in which Modern Matron is performed; this is epitomised in the collective presentation of Corporate Matron. The concept of syncretic action offers an alternative perspective through which to consider and understand the processes of identification in organisational role reconfiguration within health care; the concept has broader application to identity studies in general.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Syncretism Professional Identity Nursing roles Modern Matron Health Management New Public Management
Academic Units: The University of York > The York Management School
Depositing User: Mrs Liz Matykiewicz
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2011 09:57
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:47
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1907

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