Great question, but also complicated. Medicalizing disability has it's positive and negative connotations in relationship to social constructs. It's basic definition is not really negative, it just means to 1. view or treat as a medical concern, problem, or disorder those who seek to dispose of social problems by medicalizing them; 2. to view or treat as a medical concern, problem, or disorder <those who seek to dispose of social problems by medicalizing them--Liam Hudson><the Western model of medicalized birth...in order to reduce potential risk--Judith Fitzpatrick> (Webster).
However, I am still exploring how this applies to disability in particular nurses and nursing students with (who disclose) bipolar and mental health. I think an example woud be the monitoring program. From what I've read in this forum, nurses with bipolar for example are medicalized by the BON as "addicts" because they are required by the BON to be placed in a treatment program designed specifically for drug and alcohol addiction. ****Viva gives a better description below about how nurses with bipolar are marginalized by being subjected to monitoring***** So, if I apply this definition correctly... basically the BON is medicalizing disability in a negative way to avoid a potential risk
. It is identifying (medicalizing) bipolar as a disease/disorder while assigning it a negative social contruct. I really could not find any justification academically or otherwise as to why nurses who disclose bipolar are placed in this program. Anyway, that is one way of looking at it. The following are more "formal" and historical and theorizing definitions...you can also Google the general term "medicalization." I think disclosure fits in here also, which also perpetuates perceptions of disease, marginalization, and stigma.
Here are some more complicated definitions of "medicalization" if that helps. Note the ones in asterisks, I think they might apply here:
>Medicalizing disability is defined as a disability in the medical model is defined as bodily malfunction, while the social model converts it from an individual physical problem to a social problem.
>Medicalization is a process whereby medical and health precepts have been embodied in individuals who assume this responsibility for themselves...
....a process by which nonmedical problems become defined and treated as medical problems, usually in terms of illnesses or disorders.
...a medical perspective played in the analysis of society and its ills
...biomedical outlook on the management of populations
...a medical perspective over individual rights
...the modern welfare state governs the bodies of people with sovereign rights. They also fail to appreciate there is an inverse relationship between the progress of the medicalization in the twentieth century and individual liberty--that a doctrine of the healthy citizen has displaced, in some degree, a regime of the citizen of rights.
*****....although doctors are always on the lookout for personal and professional reasons to medicalize a condition the treatment of which will increase their power or income, in the modern state they often as not act as experts in conflict resolution between private individuals and insurors or between individuals and state entities...medical opinion may have a bearing on matters ranging
from the ability to hold down a job, be a good parent, receive injury compensation, and a
host of other typical conflicts in the modern welfare state.
****...state's interventions in particular areas of life are brought under critical scrutiny in terms of
their legitimacy (do they encroach on the necessary freedoms of individuals?) and the competence
and cost-effectiveness of its methods (can the objectives be achieved without state
intervention: that is by members of society themselves?)"
In the twentieth century where the juridical institutions or procedures have
been liquidated or crippled, the doctrine of the healthy body has been transformed into a
justification for hygienic elimination of the weak and unfit, the medical sequestering of political
and civil deviants, and a thoroughgoing control of reproduction and women's bodies
(Kater, 1989; Proctor, 1988; Weindling, 1989).