Shaped to care: a study of subjectivity and emotional labour in nursing theory and practice
AffiliationSchool of Postgraduate Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsDuncan, R. (2002). Shaped to care: a study of subjectivity and emotional labour in nursing theory and practice. PhD thesis, School of Postgraduate Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne.
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© 2002 Dr. Rachael Duncan
This research is a study of the theoretical understandings of emotion work in nursing. Ideas of poststructuralist subjectivity are used to offer a critical perspective on emotion work in humanist influenced nursing literature. The study reveals profound skill in the way nurses use their emotions at work through examples of routine care. This vital part of nursing practice is invisible and, crucially, it appears effortless. The argument is supported by illustrations from practice, nursing literature, focus group research and a secondary analysis of interview data from a Malignant Wound Care Study (Parker & Aranda, 2000). It is argued that emotional labour is a positive capacity that nurses develop as a skilled part of the work of nursing. This capacity is invisible, unarticulated and being intensely pressured by healthcare restructuring. The thesis contends that if the conditions which facilitate this critical set of practices are eroded, patients will receive markedly inferior healthcare.
Keywordsnursing care; nursing practice; nurse-patient relations; economic aspects of health services administration
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- Nursing - Theses