How do Accident & Emergency nurses deal with emotional labour?
Background: In order to provide holistic care in emergency services, registered nurses have to deal with their own emotions and the ones from the people they care for depending on the situations they face. The gap between the emotions they portray and the ones they experience, the emotional labour, can cause psychological and physiological issues on the long term and affect the care they provide. Objectives: A preliminary literature review investigated the current evidence existing on emotional labour in nurses working in Accident and Emergency (A&E) services, in order to assess a possible gap in research. Then a research proposal was formulated to answer the gap identified in research, as part of a dissertation from the final year of a Bachelor Honours in Adult Nursing. Design: A qualitative exploratory phenomenological research study seek to answer the research questions: What do Scottish A&E nurses know about emotional labour? How do Scottish A&E nurses deal with emotional labour? Methods: A theoretical sampling would recruit 15 to 20 registered nurses from a main Scottish A&E to investigate their views and opinions during semi-structured interviews lead by the single researcher of the study until saturation of the data. Ethical implications are investigated and the data analysis is hypothesised within the restricted resources, limited funding and the single researcher involved. All arguments are justified and supported by research evidence. Results: The possible findings may inform how aware A&E registered nurses are of their emotional work and what experiences they have that inform them on how to cope in a challenging and emotionally demanding environment. It may highlight what they perceive as challenging or comforting and supportive within their occupational demands and professional duties. Conclusion: The findings permit to inform a gap in knowledge from current literature on emotional labour in nursing, in A&E departments. The highly emotional burden lived by registered nurses in this high pressured and fast paced environment may not be effectively managed and lead to burnout and depersonalisation. This information confirms the need for further professional development and educational resources to develop emotional intelligence in nursing in order to have capable, safe and confident caring nurses whom are able to fully provide holistic person centred care.