Why is this study important?
Research has found that emotional expressions (anger/happiness) can affect staff wellbeing, but little research has assessed what type of emotional expression (facial movements, body posture or vocal inflections) has the most impact. Similarly, very little research has explored the impact of emotional expressions within an NHS setting and how this may affect patient safety in the long term. Therefore, understanding maternity staff experiences or accounts of witnessing emotional expressions should enable us to better understand their impact on the emotional climate on a maternity ward and how it affects patient safety. This knowledge will then be used to design interventions to maximise its positive impact.
Traditionally research on emotions has taken an intrapersonal approach examining the influence of emotions on a person’s own thought processes, decisions and behaviour. This study is focusing on the interpersonal effects – namely how individuals’ expression of emotion influences the feelings, cognitions, attitudes, and behaviour of others. We are using the Emotions as Social Information Model (EASI model) – a psychological model that proposes that the emotional display of a single person or a group influences the judgements and actions of others, to guide in-depth interviews with maternity staff in two NHS Trusts. Interviews are exploring how emotional expressions impact teams and their ability to deliver safe care. Thematic analysis of the interview data will help us to identify the factors that staff perceive to influence a positive or negative emotional team climate and how this impacts on the safe performance of the team. These findings will be used to inform recommendations for future healthcare practice and policy and the development of interventions designed to support a positive emotional team climate.
Details to follow