Ethnography of a Gendered Individual Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

ethnography of fictional individual who wanted to enter the medical field. The paper starts off with a 2-page assessment of a pseudo-interview that will form the structure of the entire ethnography. The interview and the analysis followed all exhibit the different social, ethnic and cultural aspects of the fictional character.


The fictional character constructed for this paper is Sara Bench. Sara is a foreigner who moved in from a European country with her family when she was 15, right after her grandmother's demise. She is a very strong and intelligent individual, one who is determined and dedicated to becoming a nurse and chooses to open and run an adult facility in later years when given the opportunity. She is a happy-go-lucky girl but one who is willing to work hard and long hours when it comes to her work. In the interview below, we see the personal and social factors that instigated her to make the academic and professional choices that she made.

The interview

Medicine is perhaps the one aspect of the social welfare structure that has always attracted me. I have aspired to be a nurse, specializing in senior Alzheimer's disease and its treatment. I have made conscious choices throughout my academic life that will allow me to pursue my dream in the long-term while simultaneously supporting my family in running their restaurant business.

I started out my specialized medical studies by attending community college part-time and supporting my family's restaurant business by working full time. I finished my associate degree of science in the community college and started off work as a pharmacy technician at a drug store. I will use working as a pharmacy technician as the opportunity for me to put one step in the door that will help me in becoming a professional nurse in the long run. I chose to work at the pharmacy as it allowed me to expand my knowledge about the medications used for different treatments; I especially focused on the medications that were used for treating Alzheimer's disease in the elderly as that was my long-term goal.

My initial interest on providing nursing healthcare was stirred due to my interest in the field of medical sciences. However, the focus on providing nursing healthcare for Alzheimer's amongst the elderly developed after my grandmother had been diagnosed with the same disease and had to live with for a long time. In my research of elderly healthcare, I noticed that there were very strong theoretical frameworks available for high-quality treatment and there were not many facilities that were capable of providing these services in my home country and hence their practical application and monitoring was below par. I used to take care of my grandmother through her later years and could not help a great deal to ease her pain or suffering due to my limited database of knowledge and resources. My grandmother passed away as a victim to not only the disease but also as a victim to the non-delivery of the feasible deliveries that, if provided, could have assisted positively. This below par practical application became even more apparent when I moved to the United States and came across the top-notch healthcare facilities and nursing activities in numerous healthcare facilities for the elderly suffering from Alzheimer's.

My inability to help my grandmother due to the shortcomings in the facilities provided by my home country sparked a fire in me to enter the field and make sure that the facilities that do not have the same shortcomings provide the necessary services in order to ease the suffering of the elderly suffering from Alzheimer's disease in particular like they do in the United States. Hence, I want to be a part of the nursing facilities in the United States, learn what they do best and then apply that within the healthcare structure in my own country possibly. My belief is that if and when my grandmother would have been provided the right nursing services, then her overall suffering would have been far less and she could have passed away in a much healthier and happier state. Hence, my aim to become a nurse is to not only fulfil my own dream but also to take back some of the most useful practical structures applied in the United States healthcare industry to my home country and help in its appropriate application there.

I realize that the nursing industry in my home country does have quite a few barriers in execution due to the lack of support that they get from the top management on most occasions; however, I also believe that the nurses are de-motivated to provide the services appropriately due to their own disinterest. I hope to change that once I become part of the nursing sector in the United States so that I can not only bring a new and thorough structure of knowledge database for my colleagues back home which they will be able to refer to in order to clarify the appropriate use of medications in treating Alzheimer's in the elderly -- my work at the drug store will help me make this database as accurate and appropriate as possible -- but I will also try to communicate with the top administration so that they can develop a good monitoring, reporting and tracking system for the doctors and nurses, one that mirrors the structure in the United States, so that they do not encounter obstacles in the accurate recording of successful treatments or mistakes that were made in the treatment of Alzheimer's. This system, when used appropriately in my home country, will efficiently decrease the recurrence of human error in my opinion, and, will also simultaneously eradicate the blame game that plagues the healthcare industry in my home country currently especially in the face of inappropriate or wrong treatment of a disease.

In the following section, we move forward when Sara has opened the foster facility for adults and analyze how her social, personal and cultural influences have been carried forward into the structure of this facility.


As stated on the website by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, there are more than 500,000 children currently living in child foster care whereas not many know about the adult foster care structures available in the country (Foster Care, 2008).

The chosen ethnic individual chose to work in a hideaway and one of the very few known adult centers with an atmosphere that feels like her grandma's house. This place (fictional) is full of fun stories about cookie baking, fingernail painting, music playing and other activities that took place there and in which she participated with the elderly.

Given the particulars of the chosen adult care facility, it was the perfect observation site for our ethnographic study for two reasons: first, the visitors' schedule was very flexible so it was easy to meet them; and second, the facility was close to a number of schools and hence the aspect of young perception could also be interpreted here. Furthermore, the chosen individual went to one of these schools and that was what had drawn her to this facility as well. She started off by thinking that since the residents did not have many visitors, they would like her company and since she enjoyed doing fun activities and helping people, it became the perfect adult foster care facility for her (Perrons et al., 2006b).


Finding an adult foster care facility in this community was pure luck. This community is considered the coziest neighborhood in the town. It is situated on the outskirts of Buffalo as a big cozy neighborhood with this adult foster care facility built by Sara Bench, founder and co-operator, right across her own house that she had bought some years ago.

We made Sara one of our subjects for the study because of her involvement with the adult foster care since 20 years. Her passion to care for adults arose when she was nursing for her elderly grandmother for eight years until her death. About five years ago, the house across the street of Sara's home went up for sale. Seeing her passion being fulfilled to help the adults, she bought the house and started the adult foster care facility.

Sara explained that she grew up in a very small town where the concept of adult foster care homes or geriatric homes was extremely rare especially those that housed ADD adults, i.e. The Attention Deficit Disorder patients or those suffering from Alzheimer's like her grandmother. The difference between the foster care facility owned by Sara and other foster cares is that residents are not separated from each other based on their physical disabilities. Adult foster care is a facility for adults or elderly who either cannot live alone or live with the own families because of neglect, abuse or exploitation, as stated by the Alabama Department of Human Resources. These adults are mostly elderly who even though can live a normal home environment…

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