Journal of Management Information and Decision Sciences (Print ISSN: 1524-7252; Online ISSN: 1532-5806)


Emotional labor in healthcare: Patients and professionals perspective

Author(s): Joana Carmo Dias, Alberico Rosario

The emotional interactions and emotional management between healthcare professionals and patients are relevant but understudied phenomena. The value, meanings, attitudes, and strategies of emotional management may be associated with the perceptions of healthcare service quality, patients’ satisfaction and even health outcome. Therefore, this study attempts to explore the balance between expressing or suppressing emotions and negotiating closeness vs distance within the healthcare context. 78 Portuguese nurses, physicians and patients participated in a semi-structured interview and data were analyzed according to the thematic analysis of Braun and Clarke. The results suggested that healthcare professionals and patients may perceive the process of emotional management in two different ways: one that favors emotional display and a relational approach between professionals and patients, while the other favors emotional suppression or distance between interacting parties. These findings may help managers define and implement specific strategies regarding the role of emotions in service quality and customer satisfaction. This study provides novel evidence regarding healthcare professionals’ and patients’ perspectives about the emotional display during healthcare service encounters.

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