Listening to other cultures: Rhetoric, healthcare, and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) communication in the United States, Denmark, and Sweden
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In this study, I examine neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) communication between nurses and the parents of premature infants from an intercultural perspective using the workplace qualitative methodology, contextual inquiry (CI) and observation, interview, and textual artifacts for data collection at two research sites. The first research site is at the Rigshospitalet’s Neonatalklinikken in Copenhagen, Denmark. The second research site is at the University Medical Center’s NICU in Lubbock, Texas. Data from these research sites was analyzed using grounded theory. A third research site, Sweden, is examined using rhetorical listening to understand the Swedish cultural logic of a rhetoric of equality. Research questions guiding this study range from the role of gestures in these intercultural NICU communicative exchanges to the kinds of information that is shared during these exchanges. Major findings of this study include acknowledging the roles of rhetorical eavesdropping and mirroring or mimesis as two methods parents use to learn “the hospital way” and gain agency in the care of their babies in the Danish Neonatalklinikken. Other major findings of this study include the roles of witnessing and monitoring as methods to reinscribe the hospital clock and biomedicine in the UMC NICU in Texas. Using rhetorical listening and deconstructing and constructing a Swedish cultural logic revealed yet another major finding: the rhetoric of equality that pervades the definitions, attitudes, and actions in Sweden. Furthermore, methodological implications from this study suggest the importance of actively and constantly listening for microwithdrawals of consent from participants during the data collection process.