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Hospitals as total institutions

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The image of the hospital is presented to the public as a place of healing. Though the oft-criticized total institutions of the past have been notably dismantled, the totalizing practices therein are now operationalized in the health care system. Through the lens of Erving Goffman, this article offers ways in which health care institutions operationalize totalizing practices, contributing to the mortification of patients and nurses alike in service to the bureaucratic machine. This article examines the ways in which totalizing practices may disrupt the agency of both patients and nurses alike.

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