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Where angels fear to tread: A comparative study of the working lives of occupational therapists in health and social services settings

Clouston, Teena Jayne 2013. Where angels fear to tread: A comparative study of the working lives of occupational therapists in health and social services settings. Presented at: Therapy and Empowerment- Coercion and Punishment: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Labour and Occupational Therapy, St Anne's College, Oxford, 27 - 28 June 2013.

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Abstract

“It's quite funny and amusing really [laugh] … But I've really gone where angels fear to tread sort of thing because you're not…working within a boundary…You‘re a community OT now go and work as one”. This paper will share the findings from a study that explored the working lives of occupational therapists in the contemporary national health and social services environments in the UK today. Although structurally very different organisations, the acuity of the common cultural themes were sublime. As the quote above suggests boundaries and expectations in the settings were loose in terms of what was “enough” in the sense of workloads and achievements in the workplace. This left little hope of effective strategies for workload management. The cultures in both organisations were dominated by power dynamics, which, in turn where shaped by the political and economic models of neoliberal capitalism pervading UK fiscal practice in global markets. Working together, these forces drove intensified working practices and maintained these pressures by creating concerns and even fears over opportunities for personal advancement and a continued sense of professional disenfranchisement in the organisations. These kinds of cultures created and supported fertile grounds for workplaces populated by relationships based on coercion and bullying, which, in turn, created experiences of physical and psychological stress and pressure that stymied personal growth and wellbeing. The paper concludes that these practices, whilst rife in contemporary workplaces need to change and postulates the notion of supportive and caring environments based on principles of worker wellbeing over productivity and economic growth as the way forward if human resilience and sustainability is to be actuated in modern working practices.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:01
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/47540

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