Exploring situation-specific emotional episodes among nurses : bapplication of the componential emotion approach
Potgieter, Juan-Ri Malanie
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Healthcare, within South Africa, has become a prevalent focal matter in several discussions due to the inevitable challenges (e.g., HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, affordable health care, insufficient hospital beds) it is faced with regards to the provision of quality healthcare, as well as the current state of affairs within healthcare. Not only is healthcare a threat to the population, but it also places immense pressure on the healthcare professionals who are required to provide quality care to an estimate of 53 million people, effectively. As such, due to the challenges, the healthcare professionals are continuously confronted with incidents within the workplace that is deemed as either positive or negative, which evokes certain emotions. This is especially important among nurses as emotions are extremely imperative to enable them to adapt to these incidents and to function optimally; thus making the study of emotions of great importance among nurses. The objective of this study was to firstly explore the typical emotional experiences or incidents that nurses are confronted with and secondly to apply a comprehensive emotion theory, known as the componential emotion approach (CEA), to study the meaning of emotions during these emotional experiences. To achieve the objectives of the study, a qualitative research paradigm was followed, using the transcendental phenomenological strategy. As for the sampling, a purposive sampling technique was considered best in which nine (N = 9) participants, from the Unit of Open Distance Learning (UODL) voluntarily took part in the study. The data was collected by means of several techniques, such as in-depth interviews, participant observations, and field notes. Four data analysis methods were followed: Critical Incident Analysis, Directed Content Analysis, Van Kaam’s Adapted Phenomenological Analysis, and the GRID-based componential emotion analysis. Results pertaining to this study identified several positive and negative emotional experiences that nurses are confronted with on a daily basis, which were categorised as organisational terms: Meaning at work, Job satisfaction, Occupational health and safety, and Organisational best practise. Results indicated that during the experience of emotional episodes, certain emotions are evoked which, in turn, considers changes in five emotion substrates (e.g., appraisals, subjective feelings, motor expressions, action tendencies, and physiological occurrences) within nurses. As the objective of this study was to explore these five substrates among nurses within different emotional experiences, results further indicated that nurses were able to report on all of the five components, leading to the construction of a universal essence. Recommendations regarding future research and practise were made. Nurses should be made aware of the typical emotional experiences that they are confronted with as to understand the meaning of their emotions. Managers, on the other hand, should be made aware of strategies as to how to aid nurses in the management of emotions as it impedes their ability to provide quality care.