A hermeneutic phenomenological study exploring the experience health practitioners have when working with families to safeguard children and the invisibility of the emotions work involved
Aims and objectives To explore the emotions work undertaken by practitioners with responsibility for the safeguarding of child well‐being and establish whether there is a relationship between emotion work, role visibility, professional well‐being and effectiveness of supportive frameworks. Background Protecting children is the responsibility of everyone in society with health, social care and public health services leading this worldwide. To safeguard children effectively, it is known that practitioners build relationships with families in sometimes challenging situations, which involve the management of emotions. However, irrespective of this current knowledge; health practitioners who work in this area suggest that their child safeguarding role is not recognised, respected or valued in professional and societal settings. The purpose of this study was to report on a qualitative study which set out to explore the relationship between the known relational‐based emotions work of practitioners' and the reported lack of visibility. Methods Hermeneutic phenomenology underpinned the study. Semistructured interviews were employed for data collection. Ten participants actively working with preschool children and families in healthcare organisations were recruited. Results The emotional‐, relationship‐ and communicative‐based work crucial to effectively safeguard children may influence the visibility of the role. Poor role visibility influences the morale of practitioners and the support they receive. Conclusion In conclusion this study proposes that when there is poor role recognition; there is ineffective clinical support. This reduces professional well‐being, which in turn will impact practitioner abilities to safeguard children. Relevance to clinical practice This study highlights that to sustain safe and effective health and social care practice, organisational leads require an understanding of the impact emotional‐ and relational‐based work can have on practitioners and provide supportive frameworks that will effectively promote professional well‐being.
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