A Metasynthesis of Phenomenographic Articles on Understandings of Work Among Healthcare Professionals

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Abstract

Phenomenography is a qualitative research method based on the assumption that almost any phenomenon will be understood by a group of people in a limited number of ways. Our aim in this article was to identify the different ways work can be understood by healthcare professionals. In a world where the delivery of healthcare is continually changing, a metasynthesis of phenomenographic articles on healthcare professionals’ understandings can provide knowledge about the focus and meaning of work for these individuals today. Our metaethnographic synthesis of 14 selected phenomenographic articles identified five different ways of understanding work, ranging from a limited to an all the more comprehensive view on patients and their needs. This range of understandings reveals problem areas and challenges facing healthcare professionals today. The possibility exists as well that limited understandings of work may be negative consequences of current demands for efficiency and all the more limited healthcare resources.

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