Being on-call: an exploration of the experiences of doctors and significant others

Glasgow, Samantha and Cartwright, Susan and Simpson, Jane (2019) Being on-call: an exploration of the experiences of doctors and significant others. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Previous research has not compared proximal and distal doctors’ subjective evaluations of their on-call experiences and there is a dearth of evidence on the impact of being on-call on doctors’ personal lives. The aim of this thesis was to explore on-call doctors (i.e. proximal and distal) and significant others’ (SOs) perceptions of their experiences when they or their partners are on-call. The thesis also sought to uncover the meaning of being on-call for the participants’ family and social lives. Consistent with qualitative methodology, 25 semi structured interviews were conducted with 18 Trinbagonian doctors who worked on-call and seven Trinbagonian SOs whose partners worked on-call. Thematic analysis was used to search for commonalities in the meaning of the experience between and within the groups. The findings revealed that the participants were ambivalent in their perceptions of their on-call experience (i.e. it could not be classified as either favourable or unfavourable). Themes centred on the doctors’ acceptance of their on-call duties despite describing their experience as tiring, stressful and dangerous. They also emphasised SOs’ perceptions of their partners’ on-call as no longer an issue. Nevertheless, it was a source of distraction and they remained concerned about their partners’ safety when responding to call-outs. Being on-call also had implications for how the doctors and SOs managed their intimate and parent-child relationships and the extent to which they engaged in non-work activities. These implications differed according to on-call category and gender - the latter of which was indicative of the reproduction of wider Trinbagonian gendered ideologies within social structures. The study suggests that strategies geared towards improving the on-call experience of doctors should reflect distinctions in the on-call experiences of proximal and distal doctors and role expectations of men and women doctors. It should also incorporate the experiences of those who live with them.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? on-callon calldoctors' family and social lives ??
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06 Jan 2020 12:45
Last Modified:
06 Jun 2024 23:49