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Title: "They just don't really get it, this is a vocation and I wanna do it" : exploring the wellbeing of 'customer service' workers in healthcare
Author: Arevshatian, Lilith
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 353X
Awarding Body: Kingston University
Current Institution: Kingston University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis tells the tale of a special group of healthcare 'customer service' workers called the Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS). It looks at how their job is designed and explores the impact this has, on their wellbeing by using a mixed-method research design which includes one quantitative and one qualitative study. The starting occupational level study is based on quantitative data from 138 participants using a questionnaire that measures global wellbeing, job satisfaction and psychosocial work conditions. A high incidence of strain is reported, statistically higher than that of other customer service employees and more comparable to social workers. Psychosocial conditions at work are revealed to be dire and in need of urgent action; and yet, the same group of workers report satisfaction with their job. To further unwrap the complex lived experience of PALS workers, an individual level study was conducted. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was undertaken with nine participants. Four emergent themes affirm that when it comes to their job, others just don't really get it, especially the extent of their emotion work. Changing the NHS is compared to changing a super tanker's direction and participants confess to having had a breaking point. Nevertheless, PALS staff declare that this is a vocation and I wanna do it. Reflexive interpretations suggest that some customer service employees actually engage in rather complex work that is not easily captured by the broad 'customer service' label. For individuals engaged in this type of relational work emotion work was found to be both a source of distress and motivation. Comparisons between these healthcare workers and other public sector relational workers are made and the new discourse of expertise services is proposed. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Allied health professions and studies ; Business and management studies