The dissection of risk: a conceptual analysis

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Abstract

Recently, patient safety has gained popularity in the nursing literature. While this topic is used extensively and has been analyzed thoroughly, some of the concepts upon which it relies, such as risk, have remained undertheorized. In fact, despite its considerable use, the term ‘risk’ has been largely assumed to be inherently neutral — meaning that its definition and discovery is seen as objective and impartial, and that risk avoidance is natural and logical. Such an oversight in evaluation requires that the concept of risk be thoroughly analyzed as it relates to nursing practices, particularly in relation to those practices surrounding bio-political nursing care, such as public health, as well as other more trendy nursing topics, such as patient safety. Thus, this paper applies the Evolutionary Model of concept analysis to explore ‘risk’, and expose it as one mechanism of maintaining prescribed/ proscribed social practices. Thereby, an analysis of risk results in the definitions and roles of the discipline and profession of nursing expanding from solely being dedicated to patient care, to include, in addition, its functions as a governmental body that unwittingly maintains hegemonic infrastructures.

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