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Title: Emotion work in midwifery : an ethnographic study of the emotional work undertaken by a sample of student and qualified midwives in Wales
Author: Hunter, Billie
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2002
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Concerns have been expressed regarding low morale and problems with recruitment and retention in UK midwifery. Evidence suggests that integrated midwifery practice may exacerbate these difficulties and impact on the emotional aspects of work. This thesis explored how a range of midwives experienced emotion at work. focusing on sources of emotion and how emotions were managed. The study was conducted in three phases, with the data obtained informing and complementing each other. A multi-method ethnographic approach was utilised, using focus groups, interviews and observations. In Phase One, focus groups were conducted with student midwives on both eighteen month and three year programmes (n = 27). Themes generated were then explored further with qualified midwives in Phase Two (n = 11) and Phase Three (n = 29). Qualified midwives represented a broad range of clinical locations, length of clinical experience and occupational status. Thematic data analysis indicates that community and hospital environments present midwives with fundamentally different work settings that have diverse values and perspectives. The result is two primary occupational identities and ideologies, which are in conflict. Hospital midwifery is dominated by meeting service needs, via a universalistic and medicalised approach to care; the ideology is, by necessity, 'with institution'. Community-based midwifery is more able to provide an individualised, natural model of childbirth reflecting a 'with woman' ideology. This ideology is officially supported, professionally and academically. However, there is no clear match between ideology and context, and this impacts on occupational identity. Managing these conflicting ideologies requires emotion work. Emotion work strategies, learned during socialisation, reflected 'affectively neutral' or 'affectively aware' approaches. A theoretical framework is proposed, which identifies interrelationships between context, occupational identity, occupational ideology and emotion management. The dilemmas created by conflicting occupational ideologies need to be understood in order for low morale in midwifery to be addressed
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available