Negotioating professional knowledge and responsibility in telecare: inter-professional cooperation across sectors

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


As part of ongoing efforts of rationalization and retrenchment in the healthcare sector, tasks are increasingly moved from costly specialized hospital departments to the primary healthcare sector, where less specialized personnel take on these tasks. Telecare plays an important role in facilitating local access to specialized competences at central hospitals through ICT-systems. Telecare thus establishes new virtual spaces for inter-professional cooperation between hospital- and municipal healthcare workers. This paper presents a study of how telecare contributes to transforming profes-sional identities and inter-professional relations. In an ethnographic study of local telecare nurses’ interactions with a specialized hospital department concerning the treatment of ulcers, we show how the ‘tele-ulcer’-technology gives rise to a negotiation of legitimate professional knowledge, as well as to a redistribution of professional responsibilities. The tele-ulcer-technology allows local nurses to access specialized knowledge of ulcer-treatment, which contributes positively to their pro-fessional development. However, the system also leads to a subordination of their contextualized knowledge to an abstract, standardized knowledge. While the tele-ulcer technology allows local nurses to expand their professional responsibility in a meaningful manner, acting as coordinating case-managers for their patients in a fragmented healthcare system, this expanded responsibility may also become a burden in urgent cases where the resources of the tele-ulcer system are not accessible.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event10th international conference on researching work & learning - Rhodes University, Rhodes, South Africa
Duration: 6 Dec 20178 Dec 2017
Conference number: 10


Conference10th international conference on researching work & learning
LocationRhodes University
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
OtherThe theme for RWL10 is Transitions, Transformations and Transgressions in Work and Learning & Work and Learning Research. While the organisers will consider a variety of contributions, RWL10 will in particular seek to encourage deliberative engagement around these questions: •What transitions, transformations or transgressions are influencing work and learning, as societies confront socio-ecological risks like climate change, economic stagnation, social insecurity and inequalities? •What are the implications of these transitions, transformations and transgressions for the nature of work, worker identity and agency, careers and career guidance, and work-based learning, among other areas of interest? •Does a focus on broader transitions, transformations and transgressions challenge traditional boundaries and framings of work and learning, and the relationship between society, economy, education and work? What is transformative (or not) in RWL research? The conference programme will offer a variety of session types to suit a range of presentation styles and learning needs. This will include keynote presentations, panel and plenary discussions, parallel presentations, roundtables and workshops. Conference numbers will be capped at 350 and delegates can look forward to a convivial environment conducive to exploring collaborations and discussing solutions to meet challenges in current and future scenarios. In addition, the Eastern Cape and South Africa offer unsurpassed Cultural and Eco-tourism Opportunities , exposure to a variety of challenging work environments, and excellent value for money to the discerning and engaged traveler.
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  • Nursing
  • Knowledge
  • Responsibility
  • Inter-professional Relations
  • Professional Identity

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