An auto-ethnographic reflection on the nature of nursing in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic

Allan, Helen T. ORCID logoORCID: (2021) An auto-ethnographic reflection on the nature of nursing in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine . ISSN 1363-4593 [Article] (Published online first) (doi:10.1177/13634593211064122)

PDF - Published version (with publisher's formatting)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (139kB) | Preview
[img] PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Restricted to Repository staff and depositor only

Download (283kB)


In this article I discuss the effects on the patient experience of isolation nursing during the CoronaVirus Disease (COVID)-19 pandemic. An unintended consequence of isolation nursing has been to distance patients from nurses and emphasise the technical side of nursing while at the same time reducing the relational or affective potential of nursing (Goddard, 1953). Such distanced forms of nursing (May et al., 2001; May et al., 2006) normalise the distal patient in hospital. I consider ways in which this new form of distanced nursing has unwittingly contributed to the continued commodification of nursing care in the British NHS. Autoethnography is used to describe and reflect on the illness experience, the experiences of caregivers and the sociocultural organization of health care. The findings discuss three areas of the illness experience: intimate nursing care; communication; the ‘distanced’ patient experience.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Adult, Child and Midwifery
Item ID: 34177
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2021
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Helen Allan
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 16:17
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 17:38

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.