Compassion or Corruption? Temporalities of Care and Nationhood in Papua New Guinean Nursing Education


Nurse educators in Papua New Guinea (PNG) must prepare students for often demoralizing working conditions. This article analyzes classroom and practical lessons in a PNG Highlands nursing college. A variety of pedagogical practices, including role plays and other simulation technologies, were used to socialize students to imagine patients’ relatives while making clinical decisions, and to contemplate their own relatives and ancestors in reflecting on their moral commitments to health care. Such practices generate a mode of medical citizenship shaped by a regime of biocommunicability in which Christianity and education are thought to transform one’s capacity to detach from the emotional appeals of kin. These pedagogies link the individual subjectivities of health workers to a persistent, though fragile, vision of the nation in which transgenerational, urban–rural kinship is a synecdoche for nationhood (and its deferral), despite professional counternarratives that cast these kinship ties as a slippery slope toward “corruption.” [medical citizenship, temporalities of care, nursing simulation, nationhood, Papua New Guinea]