EMOTIONAL LABORS: HEALTH CARE(2)

A range of reasons for this is offered; according to Smith and Gray (2000), within nursing, the length and uncertainty of some treatments, together with the often repressed feelings that the patient and nurse may have about a very difficult medical experience, mean that professionals inevitably have to adopt strategies to manage emotions. In addition, nurses may well at times feel negative emotions such as disgust, irritation and anger, the expression of which would not be conducive to the patient experience.

If the patient is to feel cared for then these latter emotions must be controlled, managed, or suppressed (McQueen, 2004). Thus, when nurses do not feel as they think they ought to in a particular situation they engage in emotional labor to ensure that their emotional displays match patient or social expectation (display rules). For example, interactions with angry, hostile or uncooperative patients are emotionally charged and pose a “great demand on nurses to suppress or alter their emotions” (de Castro, 2004, p. 120); as one nurse commented in Smith and Gray’s (2000, p. 48) study, “some patients are really horrible and even disgusting, which means you have to really emotionally labor”.

Representative APR 391%

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