Making visible what is often invisible

Open lecture by Lois Jacksson, Dalhousie University, Canada

24.08.2017, 12:00-13:00, Oddi-2016

About the lecture:

Geographic mobility as part of one’s employment is not new, but mobility is an increasingly common part of the working lives of many, including healthcare workers.  Within the mobilities literature much of the research centres on elite forms of mobile working lives yet there is a clear need to understand the mobility of different types of workers in order to explore power relationships related to mobility. Based on interviews with Nova Scotian (Canada) professional and paraprofessional (ie., Continuing Care Assistants) healthcare workers, this presentation will explore employment-related geographic mobility. We outline a few of the key challenges of mobility such as health and safety risks, and how the challenges are given meaning through the discourse of one’s duty to care.  We also highlight how the challenge of the financial costs of mobility is understood (by at least some healthcare workers) as an unfair personal burden. Healthcare workers indicate that because of their mobility there are opportunities for ‘time and space away’ such as the opportunity to move away from a fixed institutional setting, or to spend short periods of time away from the duty to care. Such experiences are interpreted as freedom, and appear to create strong attachments to mobile work.  Our findings make visible what is often invisible – key mobility experiences for health care workers, and the different meanings linked to these experiences.

Lois A. Jackson, PhD (University of Toronto) has worked at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) in the Health Promotion Program since 1997.  She is also a Senior Research Scholar with the Healthy Populations Institute (HPI). Her program of research focuses on improving access to health services for marginalized populations including people who use drugs.  Much of her research has centred on access to services within small centres and rural places.  At present she is the co-lead of the Nova Scotia component of the On the Move Partnership which is investigating workers’ extended travel and related absence from their places of permanent residence for the purpose of, and as part of, their employment (  The Nova Scotia component is focused on experiences of mobility among healthcare workers.