Sociology for Nurses: Online Resources

1. What is Sociology?
2. Why Should Nurses Study Sociology?
3. What is Health?
4. Nursing as an Occupation?
5. Researching Health
6. Gender
7. The Family, Health and Caring
8. Age and Ageing
9. Long Term Illness and Conditions
10. Disability
11. Social Class and Health
12. Race and Ethnicity
13. Policy in Health
14. Managing in Health Care
15. Social Care
16. Global Health

1. What is Sociology?

Dead Sociologists’ Index
This index of sixteen sociologists provides brief biographical detail, a summary of their theories and extracts from original works. Of particular interest are the entries on Mead, Marx, Durkheim and Weber.

Social Research Update
Social Research Update is published quarterly and provides accessible and jargon-free digests on all things research. Topics have included the use of instant messaging to carry out research, using email as a research tool, telephone interviews and the use of diaries as a research method.

Social Research Online
This free electronic journal applies sociological analysis to a wide range of topics.

An international sociology site with a wide variety of links to other sociological resources.

The British Sociological Association
The British Sociological Association (or BSA) is the professional association for sociologists in Britain and the BSA website is a key resource for sociologists and students of sociology. It can tell you more about what it is that sociologists do. The BSA operates a large network of study groups; the Medical Sociology Group may be of particular interest. It publishes a quarterly magazine and holds an annual conference. Other professional associations for sociologists include The European Sociological Association and The American Sociological Association.

10 Influential Sociologists
A brief introduction to 10 key sociologists of the twentieth century.

2. Why Should Nurses Study Sociology?

Can sociology help to improve nursing practice? A general discussion of the role of sociology in nursing and the value it brings to nursing practice

Caring in Hospitals Open access learning materials on the practical application of different healthcare models, developed by The Open University. The Royal College of Nursing’s professional resources on diabetes management and eductaion.

3. What is Health?

World Health Organization The WHO provides information about all aspects of health and healthcare from around the world

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). This is an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health

Public Health England provides useful statistics and data which illustrates differences in health outcomes across the England

Patient UK provides detailed information on illness symptoms, healthcare and health management for lay audiences.

4. Nursing as an Occupation

Royal College of Nursing. The nursing professional association that campaigns on nursing and wider health matters, and represents nurses and nursing. Other nations have their own associations, such as the American Nurses Association and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council for the UK. The professional regulator for nurses and midwives throughout the UK.

Nursing history. The history and archives of British nursing held by the Royal College of Nursing.

Nursing Times UK-based site providing news stories of interest to nurses

Centre for Nursing Innovation UK charity which works to promote and share new ways of improving nursing practise.

5. Researching Health Not-for-profit organization, good overview of models. UK based US based resource for research methods and best practice, very comprehensive. Detailed guides to various methodologies used in health research.

6. Gender

This website was established by the Institute of Cancer Research to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer and to campaign and raise funds on this issue.

European Men’s Health Forum
This not-for-profit organisation seeks to promote men’s health across Europe.

Men’s Health Forum
A site providing news and features on men’s health and men’s health policy.

National Women’s Health Resource Center
This US-based not-for-profit organization provides information on women’s health issues.

Women’s Health Resources at the National Library of Medicine
A US resource created in a partnership between the National Library of Medicine Office of Outreach and Special Populations and the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health.

Women’s Health Specialist Library: National Library for Health
This is a freely available resource designed for those who care for women in a professional capacity as well as being accessible to service users. An online tour of the website is available to help you make good use of the library.

World Health Organisation: Department of Gender, Women and Health (GWH) GWH brings attention to the ways in which biological and social differences between women and men affect health and the steps needed to achieve health equity.

7. The Family, Health and Caring

Guardian Online – Family
Some interesting articles on family, health and lifestyle can be found on this site.

OpenLearn – Caring: A Family Affair
Open access learning materials on caring and families from The Open University.

This organisation provides a network of safe houses for women and children experiencing domestic violence. There is lots of information here about domestic violence and the work of this organisation.

An international sociology site with a wide variety of links to other sociological resources, including a section on the sociology of family and children.

Useful electronic journals include: Journal of Child and Family Studies; Journal of Family Practice; Family and Community Health; Family and Community History; Families, Systems and Health.

8. Age and Ageing is a health resource for patients and their families, and for health professionals that uses video of patients’ experience to tell others about a disease or health condition. There are a number of pages that are concerned with age related matters, for example parents of a child with congenital heart disease, pregnancy, carers of people with dementia. There is also a separate site for young people’s health matters at and links to other resources.
This site is for anyone working with older people and fosters an exchange of ideas between different disciplines about ageing. It contains a useful list of links to other sites.

Age UK is Britain’s largest charity for older people and provides information as well as campaigning on age related issues. has a more global focus

Childline started as a telephone helpline for children to discuss issues of abuse that they could not discuss at home. It is now run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) which apart from supporting children and their families campaigns for social and political change.

9. Long Term Illness and Conditions

www.healthtalkonline.orgis a health resource for patients and their families, and for health professionals that uses video of patients’ experience to tell others about a disease or health condition. Many of the links relate to disabling conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, motor neurone disease, chronic pain, HIV, and young people with long term conditions, and there are links to other resources.

Many chronic illnesses have their own organisations and websites, these are just a few examples, but a Google search using the name of a condition will elicit more. asthma heart and circulatory disease stroke mental health mental health

10. Disabilty is a health information website for families with disabled children that also puts families with children with specific conditions in touch with each other is a multi-purpose site for people with disabilities. It combines news and benefits information with personal stories and an online introduction forum. It also contains an archive.

The Disability Alliance aims to reduce poverty for those people living with disabilities. It provides information on income and benefits, and also researches the needs of disabled people. The Disability Handbook is available through this site. National charity for people with learning disabilities.

11. Social Class and Health is the website for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which has since the early twentieth century been researching and reporting on the causes of and possible solutions to the problem of poverty. The site has links to many of the Foundation’s publications including poverty within different social groups such as children and women.

Statistics on poverty and social exclusion can be found at The site also monitors what is happening to poverty in the UK, and covers areas such as income and education as well as health. Statistics are available for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the European Union.

The National Statistics Online website presents a number of health and social care statistics analysed by social class

The Department of Health website contains a number of documents about health inequalities and the strategies aimed at reducing them contains articles on poverty, social mobility and social exclusion.

12. Race and Ethnicity

The Race Equality Foundation produces excellent booklets on minority ethnic health.

Race for Health Programme is a Department of Health funded programme that provides a current awareness service on ethnicity and health in order to improve the health of people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

For people new to the UK:
Health for Asylum Seekers and Refugees Portal (HARP)
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Refugee Council

The National Black and Minority Ethnic Mental Health Network is a member of the mental health alliance is a health resource for patients and their families, and for health professionals that uses video of patients’ experience to tell others about a disease. One page is on people from minority ethnic communities who care for someone in the family with mental health problems, and includes interviews in languages other than English as well as links to other resources.

Although most health problems are found in all ethnic groups certain diseases and conditions are found more commonly in people of specific ethnicity. Websites for some of these which include information for patients/families and health professionals are:
Sickle Cell Disorder and Thalassaemia
Tay Sachs disease
Cystic Fibrosis

13. Policy in Health

BBC Health provides health, news, features and analysis from the BBC. provides online healthcare management analysis and intelligence via features, regular columns and a blog as well as further links to national health policy news and clinical perspectives on health policy. is a journal for health managers and anyone else with an interest in health policy. It reports up to the minute news on health policy issues, and provides alerts. is a journal focusing on evidence-based health services policy. It has an international and multidisciplinary emphasis. is the website for the International Alliance of Patients’ Organisations and provides information on the importance of patient involvement in health policy. Further useful links can also be found here. is part of the website of the Guardian newspaper and provides news and comment on health issues. It is regularly updated so always topical, although a search will bring up older articles. provides links to all government policy documents on health. Most carry an executive summary, which cover the main points is a body for NHS organisations such as NHS Trusts, and its website contains a number of news pages linked to the policy interests of its members.

14. Managing in Health Care

The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation which has the aim of ‘working for better health’, especially in London. Its goals are to help develop: informed policy, by undertaking original research and providing objective analysis; effective services, by fostering innovation and helping put ideas into action. This site has a lot of useful resources including copies of reports that examine management issues. The King’s Fund does a lot of work in the area of leadership development as well.

The Department of Health website contains a wealth of useful resources relating to a wide range of management and policy issues in health care. Regular visits to the various parts of the website will help you keep up to date with developments in health care generally.

The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement was established to support the NHS transform healthcare for patients and the public by rapidly developing and spreading new ways of working, new technology and world-class leadership. It contains useful information about change management and systems approaches to service improvement.

The Office for Public Management provides services in consultancy, people development, research and specialist support. It aims to improve the quality of public service management. It does not have a specific focus on management in healthcare, however a range of useful material can be found here.

The New Health Network brings together the worlds of medicine, management, politics and business to inspire debate, influence policy and improve health and healthcare. It seeks to help shape a future where the NHS fulfils its potential for all patients. It provides a means for networking across professions and organisations to put the NHS and the people who use it centre stage.
This site is hosted by a number of noted academics and as the name suggests focuses on evidence –based management. It serves as a forum for debate and provides information on how the principles of evidence-based practice can be applied to management.

15. Social Care

Carers UK
Carers UK provides a voice for carers living in the UK and campaigns for their rights.

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers
This organisation campaigns for the rights of carers. The website hosts a discussion forum and chat rooms for carers. The Social Care Institute for Excellence has many detailed guides and resources for understanding social care in the UK.

Age UK is Britain’s largest charity for older people and provides information as well as campaigning on age related issues. Guidelines and quality standards for social care services. Topics are organised by mental health and wellbeing, population groups such as older people and BME groups and setting (such as residential homes).

16. Global Health

The Global Health Council
This organisation describes itself as ‘the world’s largest membership alliance dedicated to saving lives by improving health throughout the world’. It is a US-based not-for-profit organisation created in 1972. It has a particular emphasis on women’s health, child health, HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases.

Global Health Watch
This organisation is a collaboration of public health experts, non-governmental organisations, civil society activists, community groups, health workers and academics.

The People’s Health Movement
A grassroots health movement which seeks to promote the Health for All goal.

The United Nations
Search this website to discover more about the UN Millenium Development Goals and to find out about world economic and social affairs.

The World Health Organisation
The World Health Organisation coordinates health within the United Nations. It has information about health around the world.