A qualitative study to explore healthcare professionals’ experiences of disgust working within a palliative care setting

Muggleton, Joshua Thomas Bailey (2014). A qualitative study to explore healthcare professionals’ experiences of disgust working within a palliative care setting. University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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Although disgusting symptoms are common in healthcare settings, previous research identified that healthcare professionals systematically avoid contact with patients with disgusting symptoms (Kray, 2004; Lawton, 1998), potentially compromising patient care. Equally, as showing disgust is thought to be unprofessional (Holmes, Perron and O'Byrne, 2006), healthcare professionals may feel unable to express or process disgust in their work, leading to long-term emotional difficulties. Aim: To investigate how palliative healthcare professionals' experience and cope with disgust, and how they are supported in doing so. Methods: Six palliative healthcare professionals were interviewed. Their transcripts were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 1996) Analysis: Fifteen themes in how palliative healthcare professionals experience and handle disgust were identified and explored. Conclusions: Three key findings emerged. Firstly, participants were uncomfortable talking about disgust at work, and were unable to access support for disgust. Secondly, in focusing on their patients' needs, participants often neglected their own emotional needs. Finally, participants were at risk of reducing vital socio-emotional support for patients with disgusting symptoms. We suggest that some of these adverse effects may be counteracted and avenues for future research.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4709


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