An interpretative phenomenological exploration of wellbeing

Arevshatian, Lilith and Lewis, Rachel (2014) An interpretative phenomenological exploration of wellbeing. In: Tenth Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (QI): Qualitative Inquiry and the Politics of Research; 21-24 May 2014, Champaign, U.S.. (Unpublished)


This study tells the tale of a special group of healthcare ‘customer service’ workers called PALS. On the one hand they are front line staff, taking in and addressing patient concerns; on the other, they are change agents, initiating back office organisational change. Nine participants were interviewed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Two emergent themes affirm that when it comes to their job, others “just don’t really get it”, especially the extent of their emotion work. Their wellbeing experiences are more comparable to social workers than to customer service workers. And yet, they nevertheless declare that “this is a vocation and I wana do it”. Reflexive interpretations lead to the conclusion that some public sector workers are misunderstood, and erroneously perceived as ‘customer service’ even though they engage in complex problem solving and significant emotion work.

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