In search of the changeable: An analysis of visual representations of nursing in Norwegian and Danish professional nursing journals, 1965-2016

Nurs Inq. 2020 Jul;27(3):e12340. doi: 10.1111/nin.12340. Epub 2020 Jan 3.


In this study, we demonstrate how perceptions of nursing are constructed in close connection with the development of the Nordic welfare states. Drawing on Gillian Rose's framework for analysing the social and political implications of visual materials, we analysed selected visual representations of nursing published in Danish and Norwegian professional nursing journals in the period 1965 to 2016. The analyses were conducted in an iterative process in three phases. First, we reviewed all visuals spanning the entire period to obtain an overview of developmental trends in the material. Second, selected visuals and associated captions were subjected to more thorough analysis. Third, we further examined and discussed the visuals in light of societal and political movements and ideologies in Danish and Norwegian healthcare policies over this period. Our analysis shows that visual representations of the nurse-patient relationship and of the patient's and the nurse's roles and responsibilities changed over this period and that the visualisations corresponded with and supported developments in the Danish and Norwegian welfare states as these first consolidated and then moved towards individualisation and the competition state. Our study demonstrates that nurses in these states are political actors implementing health policies embedded in various knowledge regimes.

Keywords: nurse-patient relationship; nursing theory; politics; professional issues; social constructionism.

MeSH terms

  • Audiovisual Aids / trends*
  • Denmark
  • Humans
  • Norway
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing / instrumentation*
  • Nursing / trends
  • Periodicals as Topic / trends*
  • Social Identification*