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Health Care Anal. 2013 Sep;21(3):271-81. doi: 10.1007/s10728-013-0248-1.

Laid bare: religious intolerance within online commentary about 'bare below the elbows' guidance in professional journals.

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  • 1Medicine, Ethics, Society and History, University of Birmingham, UK.


The decision by the Department of Health to introduce amendments to the uniform and workwear policy for the NHS in response to increasing problems with infection control seemed uncontroversial. There was, however, some difficulty with implementing the policy, which arose largely because of the conflict this caused for staff who wished to keep their arms covered for reasons which stemmed from religious beliefs. This paper uses textual analysis to examine how those reasons and challenges were discussed in online commentary within a medical and nursing journal. The papers shows that there was a marked difference in how the two groups of professionals responded to the changes to workwear, and exposes a worrying degree of religious intolerance expressed by contributors to the nursing journal.

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