A Heart for the Care: Affect, Kin, and Care Work in a Zambian Hospital

Emma Nelson Bunkley, Comfort Asante, Sarah Burack, Lindsey Kaufman, Sam Miti, Jean Hunleth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

At the only standalone pediatric hospital in Zambia, patient wellbeing often rests in the hands of bedsiders. Bedsiders are caregivers, often family, who sit at the patient's bedside, feeding, cleaning them, and running medical errands. Bedsiders are critical human infrastructure for the hospital and its staff. In our research, we heard repeatedly that bedsiders must have a “heart” for caregiving, taking on unremunerated and exhausting informal labor. We draw on Wendland's “heart for the work,” a phrase commonly used among healthcare workers in Malawi and Zambia describing the medical profession, to explore what this metaphor reveals about care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-66
Number of pages13
JournalMedical Anthropology Quarterly
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Zambia
  • bedsider
  • caregiving
  • heart
  • hospital ethnography

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A Heart for the Care: Affect, Kin, and Care Work in a Zambian Hospital'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this