"Time enough! or not enough time!" An oral history investigation of some British and Australian community nurses' responses to demands for "efficiency" in health care, 1960-2000

Christine E. Hallett, Wendy Madsen, Brian Pateman, Julie Bradshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Oral history methodology was used to investigate the perspectives of retired British district nurses and Australian domiciliary nurses who had practiced between 1960 and 2000. Interviews yielded insights into the dramatic changes in community nursing practice during the last four decades of the 20th century. Massive changes in health care and government-led drives for greater efficiency meant moving from practice governed by "experiential time" (in which perception of time depends on the quality of experience) to practice governed by "measured time" (in which experience itself is molded by the measurement of time). Nurses recognized that the quality of their working lives and their relationships with families had been altered by the social, cultural, and political changes, including the drive for professional recognition in nursing itself, soaring economic costs of health care and push for deinstitutionalization of care. Community nurses faced several dilemmas as they grappled with the demands for efficiency created by these changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-161
Number of pages26
JournalNursing History Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


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