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Cancers 2017, 9(6), 64; doi:10.3390/cancers9060064

Being-in-the-Chemotherapy-Suite versus Being-in-the-Oncology-Ward: An Analytical View of Two Hospital Sites Occupied by People Experiencing Cancer

1
Department of Social Practice, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland 1025, New Zealand
2
Department of Human Services and Social Work, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
3
Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
4
Research and Enterprise Office, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland 1025, New Zealand
This manuscript is dedicated to Francisc Szekely.
This author has been deceased.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Samuel C. Mok
Received: 6 April 2017 / Revised: 10 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 5 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue End-of-Life Cancer Care)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1862 KB, uploaded 5 June 2017]   |  

Abstract

How do people with cancer occupy places within the health system during their journey through palliative care? The answer to this question was explored by the authors as part of a wider ethnographic study of eight people’s journeys from referral to palliative care services to the end of life. This article reports on findings that have emerged from ongoing analysis that has been completed in the years proceeding data collection. An ethnographic research design was used to collect data about the participants and their family members over a three-year period. Data was collected using participant observation and semi-structured interviews. Over 380 transcripts based on field note entries and taped interviews were produced during the 1121 h of contact with participants and family members that made up the research period. Analysis of these texts identified two focal sites within Christchurch Hospital that were occupied by the participants. These were the Chemotherapy Suite and the Oncology Ward. Drawing on literature concerning previous anthropological analysis, research was conducted to understand how places affect people and how people affect places. The researchers have used a model outlined by the American ethnographer Miles Richardson to analyse two distinct sites within one hospital. As explained in Richardson’s article, whose title is used to model the title of this article, a sense of place becomes apparent when comparing and contrasting two sites within the same location. Richardson’s article is highly interpretative and relies not only on pre-existing theoretical frameworks but also on personal interpretation. The same approach has been used in the current article. Here, ethnographic methods require the researcher’s interpretation of how participants occupied these sites. Following this approach, the Chemotherapy Suite is presented as a place where medicine dominates illness, and appears as distinct from the Oncology Ward, where disease predominates and death is secreted away. View Full-Text
Keywords: palliative care; chemotherapy; oncology; ethnography; end-of-life care; place palliative care; chemotherapy; oncology; ethnography; end-of-life care; place
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Hughes, C.; van Heugten, K.; Keeling, S.; Szekely, F. Being-in-the-Chemotherapy-Suite versus Being-in-the-Oncology-Ward: An Analytical View of Two Hospital Sites Occupied by People Experiencing Cancer. Cancers 2017, 9, 64.

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