EMOTIONAL LABORS: HEALTH-CARE MANAGEMENT(2)

MANAGEMENT(2)

Acknowledgement of the role of emotions in terms of education within health-care training certainly appears to be patchy, with some provision better than others. A gynecological nurse in Northern Ireland comments in McCreight’s recent paper that she was not given guidance on dealing either with her own or her patient’s emotions and consequently felt that she was inadequately prepared for a part of her job that is central to her role; for example, nurses were trained in recognizing symptoms of miscarriage as well as appropriate forms of medical intervention, but not in the emotional aspects of such incidents.

Nurses in Henderson’s study also frequently expressed their “profound disappointment in the failure of nursing education to address the emotional requirements of the work”; none of Henderson’s nurses felt that their nursing education has “in any way” prepared them for the emotional cost of nursing. In a similar vein, a psychiatrist in the British Medical Journal laments that “much of medical training seems to be focused on how to deal with things . . . rather than how to cope with people”. But how might this emotional training is achieved? Many nurses feel that these skills are best learned vicariously from more experienced colleagues: “there are very experienced staff here. . .and basically what you do is you learn from them”.

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