Providing care in divided space : nursing in Northern Saskatchewan, 1944-1957 and beyond
McBain, Lesley Ann
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In 1944, the Government of Saskatchewan created the Northern Administrative District (NAD), which established Northern Saskatchewan as a spatial entity within the provincial milieu. Attention was focused on modernizing the region, and public health nursing became one of the first state-sponsored institutions to be introduced by the provincial government. By examining the day-to-day activities of nurses who worked at remote nursing outposts in Northern Saskatchewan between 1944 and 1957 and beyond, this research examines the complex internal factors involved in region-making. Nurses lived and worked amongst their patients in small remote communities, thus making them effective vehicles for promoting modernization principles through preventative and educations programs. Despite the government’s intention to modernize Northern Saskatchewan, a colonial relationship emerged between the region and the rest of the province. This situation left nurses in a confusing and often difficult position, because the institution behind initiatives to modernize the region was also their employer to whom they had certain obligations. Furthermore, the colonial attitude towards the region also extended to the nursing stations and the nurses, which often frustrated their attempts to provide medical care. As such, the small cadre of nurses played an ambiguous role, both as agents of modernization, but also opponents of its egregious effects. The research examines the role of nursing in region-making through two types of geography: A geography of region-making where the literature focuses on the formal process of institutionalization, and a geography of social life, where the emerging literature on the geography of nursing provides an entry point. This two-part approach provides an opportunity to use different lenses to view the processes involved in shaping Northern Saskatchewan as it emerged as a distinct northern place within Canada.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteePeters, Evelyn; Naqvi, Kim; Coates, Ken; Biggs, C. Lesley; Bell, Scott M.
Copyright DateFebruary 2006
healthcare in northern and remote regions