New Publication: Special Issue of Work and Occupations: The Emotional Experience of Caregiving Work in a Changing Health Care Landscape

Please check out the new Special Issue of Work and Occupations:

The Emotional Experience of Caregiving Work in a Changing Health Care Landscape
Guest Editors: Timothy J. Vogus, Allison S. Gabriel, Laura E. McClelland

Caregiving work is cognitively, emotionally, and physically demanding. These demands become amplified in the health care sector with the highstakes consequences of the work associated with the work being done with increasing complex, elderly, and fragile patients in a system simultaneously demanding high quality, low cost care. The result has been an epidemic of burnout among caregivers with conservative estimates suggesting it affects at least half of physicians and nurses and such aversive conditions may augur a future shortage of caregivers. Using this context as backdrop, the special issue focuses explicitly on the emotional experience of caregiving work with an emphasis on helping better understand the factors that contribute to emotional exhaustion and well-being at work. In doing so, the articles in the special issue push the frontiers of leading perspectives on emotional experience in service and caregiving work including emotional labor, job demands-resources, and the service triangle.

The articles comprising the special issue advance and challenge these leading perspectives and often do so in tandem with considering the changing reality and increasing complexity and pressures of health-care work. In a study of nurses, Chang and colleagues demonstrate how nurses’ differential experiences of job demands and resources (e.g., the balance of their social support exchanges) can trigger anger that produces physical (musculoskeletal) injuries. In a rich audio diary study of nurses Cottingham and Erickson develop a more contextualized, socially embedded emotional practice approach. For instance, they capture both the complex, embodied emotional experiences of care providers and powerfully depicting how shared social position affects how and for whom emotional resources are provided. Amid the growing burnout and dissatisfaction among caregivers, Lee and colleagues counterintuitively find that job dissatisfaction may itself be a job resource that is positively associated with generating quality improvement ideas in 12 clinics. The positive effects of dissatisfaction are stronger for individuals with shorter tenure, in central (caregiving) roles, and when engaged in more boundary spanning. Finally, Kossek et al. examine the work of an underappreciated set of workers in care delivery—job schedulers. In doing so, they push the frontier of the service triangle by illustrating how the scheduler adjudicates disputes among employees, administrators and patients through various forms of patching (i.e., ongoing adjustments to address holes in scheduling) that takes the unique needs of employers, employees, and patients into consideration. Exploratory analysis also show that how the schedulers address these issues may have patient consequences in fewer pressure ulcers.

The Social Context of Caregiving Work in Health Care: Pushing Conceptual and Methodological Frontiers
Vogus, T., Gabriel, A., and McClelland, L.

Social Support Exchange and Nurses’ Musculoskeletal Injuries in a Team Context: Anger as a Mediator
Chang, C.-H., Yang, L.-Q., & Lauricella, T. K.

The Promise of Emotion Practice: At the Bedside and Beyond
Cottingham, M. & Erickson, R.

Dissatisfied Creators: Generating Creative Ideas Amid Negative Emotion in Health Care
Lee, Y. S. H., Nembhard, I. M., & Cleary, P. D.

Work Schedule Patching in Health Care: Exploring Implementation Approaches
Kossek, E. E., Rosokha, L. M., & Leana, C.

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