Emotional Labour in Health Care : The unmanaged heart of nursing book cover
1st Edition

Emotional Labour in Health Care
The unmanaged heart of nursing

ISBN 9780415409544
Published August 15, 2008 by Routledge
248 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Do nurses still care? In today’s inflexible, fast-paced and more accountable workplace where biomedical and clinical models dominate health care practice, is there room for emotional labour?

Based on original empirical research, this book delves into personal accounts of nurses' emotion expressions and experiences as they emerge from everyday nursing practice, and illustrates how their emotional labour is adapting in response to a constantly changing work environment.

The book begins by re-examining Arlie Hochschild’s sociological notion of emotional labour, and combines it with Margaret Archer’s understanding of emotion and the inner dialogue. In an exploration of the nature of emotional labour, its historical and political context, and providing original, but easily recognisable, typology, Catherine Theodosius emphasises that it is emotion – complex, messy and opaque – that drives emotional labour within health care. She suggests that rather than being marginalised, emotional labour in nursing is frequently found in places that are hidden or unrecognised. By understanding emotion itself, which is fundamentally interactive and communicative, she argues that emotional labour is intrinsically linked to personal and social identity. The suggestion is made that the nursing profession has a responsibility to include emotional labour within personal and professional development strategies to ensure the care needs of the vulnerable are met.

This innovative volume will be of interest to nursing, health care and sociology students, researchers and professionals.

Table of Contents

Introduction: challenging current conceptualisations of emotional labour  Part 1  1. Emotion Management and Emotional Labour  2. Emotional Labour in Health Care  3. Emotion and Cognition  4. Synthesising Darwin and Freud with Interactionist Theory  5. Emotion and Personal and Social Identity  Part 2  6. The Emotional Field  7. Therapeutic Emotional Labour  8. Instrumental Emotional Labour 9. Collegial Emotional Labour  10. Reflexive Emotion Management

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Catherine Theodosius recently completed an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Essex and is a Lecturer in Adult Nursing at University Campus Suffolk.


‘[This book] should be widely read by all those who are interested in the subject of emotion at the workplace…Her book is quite invaluable to a wide range of audiences from trainee nurses to seasoned researchers in the sociology of emotion and medical sociology, to policy makers, the wider public and maybe some archbishops as well…Theodosius’ considerable achievement to turn our attention away from the commercialization of human feeling to the unmanaged heart of nursing.’ – Organization Studies