Virtual reality or real virtuality: the space of flows and nursing practice

Nurs Inq. 2005 Dec;12(4):306-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1800.2005.00290.x.


The use of virtual environments for the provision of health-care is on the increase, and with each new development brings debates about their impact on care, nursing and nursing practice. Such environments offer opportunities for extending care and improvements in communication. Others believe these developments threaten aspects of nursing they hold sacrosanct. This paper explores the development of an assemblage of computer networks, databases, information systems, software programs and management systems that together work to manage health-care in Australia, namely casemix. We contend that spatial theories on network society show how this assemblage co-ordinates and operates to manage care. We discuss how this assemblage affects care and suggest that changes in organisation may be a part of the shift in how bodily organisation occurs more generally, but more specifically in health-care. We also suggest how nurses are enrolled in and by such networks, leading to transformation in nurses' practices. Finally, we argue that using spatial forms of analysis allows an interpretation of such assemblages that may account for their strengths and their shortcomings.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups
  • Humans
  • Information Systems / trends*
  • Models, Organizational
  • Nursing Care / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Care / trends
  • Nursing Informatics / trends*
  • Patient Care Management / trends*
  • User-Computer Interface*