Marketplace, Power, Prestige: The Healthcare Professions

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In November 2017 I travelled to Stuttgart at the invitation of the Robert Bosch Institute to take part in a workshop entitled: “Marketplace, Power, Prestige: The Healthcare Professions’ Struggle for Recognition”.  The basis of the workshop was interprofessional working and colleagues from around Europe and beyond participated.  I flew into Frankfurt Airport, which is enormous and then took the train to Stuttgart. Much to my disappointment and indeed surprise the train was late. However, once we left I was amazed at the speed German trains can and do travel – we reached 249 km per hour…. Living in Calderdale where we are lucky if the train travels at 20 mph it was an unimaginable speed.

The Robert Bosch Institute is the German equivalent to the Wellcome Institute here and is situated in the grounds of what had been the family home, or perhaps mansion is more appropriate.  The main researchers and employees of the Institute are located in the ultra-modern building. The historians have a small house behind, with a delightful garden. Despite being November, one day was fine enough for the event’s photographs to be taken outside. The food was delicious and endless, so a very happy time for me.

The papers themselves covered discussions of interprofessional conflict and collaboration between professions that make up frequent narratives of interprofessional workings – nurses and doctors, midwives and doctors.  What was of particular interest were the more esoteric papers on the rivalry between dentists and other dental workers in British Mandate Palestine, between opticians and ophthalmologists in fin de siècle France and development of the profession of medical coders in Germany. After the event all participants were asked to write a chapter for an edited book to be published by the Institute. I am currently working on my chapter about conflict and collaboration between British Army nursing sisters and their medical colleagues on active service overseas in the Second World War. I hope that I will be able to make it a valuable contribution, but clearly, since I am writing this blog instead, it is perhaps not coming along as well as hoped….

All the participants’ great thanks went to Drs Pierre Pfütsch and Sylvelyn Hahner for organising the event and to Dr Robert Jutte the Director of the Institute.

Jane Brooks

Categories: Out & About