Emotion work: the invisible labour of health visiting

Jilly Taylor

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review

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Background: Promoting and improving the health, development and wellbeing of children, young people and their families is of global importance for the survival of countries and communities (United Nations 2010). In many countries, health
and social care children services are essential in leading the way with this promotion. In the United Kingdom, the work of the specialist nursing profession of health visiting is deemed pivotal. However for many in this role the challenges they face when working with children, families and communities are not always recognised, respected or valued in professional and societal settings (Appleton 2011, Peckover 2013).
Aim: The purpose of this qualitative pilot study was to explore the emotions work undertaken by health visitors in the United Kingdom. The aim of the study was threefold: first to establish whether there was a relationship between emotion work and the lack of role visibility reported, second to identify what impact this has on the professional wellbeing reported by this professional group and thirdly to understand the influence this has on the support they receive.
Research Design: Methodology: Hermeneutic phenomenology was used as the methodological framework for the study.
Method: Semi-structured interview methods were employed to collate data over the time period of August October 2013
Sample: Ten participants were recruited. All participants were registered health visitors and were actively working with pre-five children and families in two Scottish Health board areas.
Discussion: The study suggests that the emotional and communicative work that is deemed crucial to effectively work with families and communities to safeguard children may influence the visibility of the role. Poor visibility of role influences the morale of professionals and the support they receive.
Conclusion: If the work of a professional group is not fully understood then organisational, supportive infrastructures will be inadequate.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2015
EventRCN Annual International Nursing Research Conference and Exhibition 2015 - East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Apr 201522 Apr 2015


ConferenceRCN Annual International Nursing Research Conference and Exhibition 2015
Abbreviated titleRCN research conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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