Emotional work, emotional wellbeing and professional practice: the lived experiences of women community health nurses providing palliative care in the home environment in Australia

PhD Thesis


Rose, Jayln. 2008. Emotional work, emotional wellbeing and professional practice: the lived experiences of women community health nurses providing palliative care in the home environment in Australia. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. Southern Cross University.
Title

Emotional work, emotional wellbeing and professional practice: the lived experiences of women community health nurses providing palliative care in the home environment in Australia

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorRose, Jayln
SupervisorGlass, Nel
Institution of OriginSouthern Cross University
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages330
Year2008
Abstract

This research set out to explore the relationship between emotional work, emotional wellbeing and professional practice of community nurses who provided palliative care to clients living at home. Three specific aims were investigated; the concept of emotional wellbeing; the relationship between emotional work, emotional wellbeing and professional practice; and the strategies utilised by the nurses that promote their emotional wellbeing. An emancipatory framework was applied to this study. The research was epistemologically and ontologically located within a critical and feminist framework. It was believed that the chosen methodological approach was well situated to address the subjective experiences of the sixteen women community nurses who participated in this study. The participants were all registered nurses employed by New South Wales Health and were geographically located across rural and urban New South Wales, Australia. Data collection was undertaken over a fifteen-month period. The chosen methods were semi-structured interviews and reflective journaling. The findings revealed that the concept of emotional wellbeing was complex and multifaceted. The participants associated emotional wellbeing with feeling energetically balanced or out of balance. There was a pervasive interconnectedness between emotional work, emotional wellbeing and professional practice that was influenced by multiple factors including the emotional impact of emotional work and various workplace challenges. Three main themes emerged, those being: Demanding; Rewarding; and Comfortability. Self-care was recognised as being important to the nurses and strategies to enhance their wellbeing were identified. These included healthy lifestyle choices, debriefing, self-validation, assertiveness and the need for emotional support. It is argued that community health nurses are well positioned to critically examine their work environments and explore the issues that hinder or enhance their professional satisfaction and emotional wellbeing. The profession of nursing has traditionally promoted holistic healthcare practice in client care. Yet the holistic and humanistic care of nurses has been relegated to the margins, particularly when exploring emotional issues. Emancipatory inquiries provide valuable opportunities for researchers to address the complex issues faced by nurses as it enables nurses to speak from their hearts, thus creating transformative opportunities that have benefits for educators, nurses, the nursing profession and recipients of nursing care.

Keywordsnurses; nursing; emotional wellbeing; community health; palliative care; holistic; critical feminist; emancipatory; professional practice
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020429999. Other health sciences not elsewhere classified
420599. Nursing not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsSouthern Cross University
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q10w9/emotional-work-emotional-wellbeing-and-professional-practice-the-lived-experiences-of-women-community-health-nurses-providing-palliative-care-in-the-home-environment-in-australia

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