I talk to dead people.
Tara Nipe wants to know why.
And she wants you to help her gain a better understanding of the reasons.
A PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Health and Society, my research interests are informed by my clinical practice as a registered nurse on a mixed medical specialty ward at one of Melbourne’s most acute tertiary hospitals.
A few years ago I undertook an empirical research Masters in Social Health, where I investigated why ICU nurses who speak to their brain-dead patients do so – the available research indicated it was because ICU nurses didn’t understand the idea of brain death and I disagreed.
In the process of this research I discovered that all my participants also spoke with somatically dead patients, something that is important but almost invisible in the literature. I’m currently investigating the cultural, spiritual, professional and ideological reasons underpinning the practice of health care practitioners who talk to their patients while performing death work.
I’m conducting interviews, but am also interested in written narratives about their practice by nurses, midwives and doctors who talk to patients any time after death. One of the problems so far has been that health professionals often find it difficult to write in a different style than patient notes – it’s my hope that those who read and write blogs will be more comfortable writing subjectively about their experiences.
Tara is looking to finish her data collection by mid-Febuary, and if you are a nurse, a doctor or a midwife interested in participating in this project, she is happy to take enquiries without any expectation of a participation commitment.
You can contact Tara directly via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Plus, she has provided a letter of invitation (pdf), outlining a little more about the project.
And, a handy guide to providing your narrative (pdf) that is worth reflecting on even if you are not interested in participating.
I am going to have a think about this one and will post my own narrative here soon (which I will also submit to Tara).
If you have found yourself talking to the dead as well, I hope you will consider assisting her.