An ethnographic study of the impact of service transition on the well-being of nurses in two National Health Service acute trusts

Yeats, Rowena Margaret (2013). An ethnographic study of the impact of service transition on the well-being of nurses in two National Health Service acute trusts. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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The National Health Service (NHS) continues to go through a period of considerable transition as health services change to meet the needs of a 21st century population. Staff are acknowledged as key to such processes. Staff well-being is a key concept in organisational change literature. For example, levels of staff well-being can be used to measure the success of organisational change. Existing literature has established that a number of different features of change are associated with staff well-being such as levels of control and demand, and social support. The study presented here extends these relationships to focus on how and why staff well-being is influenced during organisational transition. An ethnographic approach was used to observe two surgical units, both of which were undertaking transitions by relocating to new purpose-built facilities. Findings are arranged around three different themes and within each theme a number of aspects of the change were found to be driving effects on well-being: 1) information and communication during transition: the extent to which change-related communications were consultative/participatory, well-scheduled, transparent and incorporated job-related technical information; 2) the nature of the transition: working with ‘unsuitable’ patients, working in restrictive and disconnected work spaces and the fast-paced nature of work; 3) the impact of the transition on social relationships: the presence of support structures and changes to team dynamics. This investigation contributes to improving understanding of what affects staff well-being during change. A number recommendations for best practice are subsequently formulated.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
School or Department: School of Health and Population Studies, Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatictics
Funders: National Institute for Health Research
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
R Medicine > RT Nursing


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