Title: Behind closed doors – the role of gossip in the emotional labour of nursing work

Authors: Kathryn Waddington

Addresses: City University, Department of Applied Psychosocial Sciences, 20 Bartholomew Close, London, EC1A 7QN, UK

Abstract: This paper describes a qualitative research study exploring the role of gossip in the expression and management of emotion in nursing work that was part of a wider investigation into the characteristics and function of gossip in nursing and UK healthcare organisations. Findings are presented from an in-depth qualitative interview study with 10 Clinical Nurse Specialists who worked in a range of hospital and community settings. In the paper, I argue that gossip is a feature of nurses| emotional labour in that it provides the opportunity for the expression of authentic feelings about patients and colleagues, which cannot be expressed in public, and which occurs ||behind closed doors||. These findings advance our understanding of how nurses carry out the emotional labour associated with their work in an inter-professional context. The implications of the findings are also discussed in relation to the role of emotionally supportive relationships and clinical supervision.

Keywords: emotional labour; gossip; interdisciplinary scholarship; inter-professional practice; qualitative methodology; organisational emotion; workplace emotion; nursing; UK healthcare; clinical nurse specialists; emotionally supportive relationships; clinical supervision.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2005.007325

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2005 Vol.1 No.1, pp.35 - 47

Published online: 05 Jul 2005 *

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