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dc.contributor.authorOliver, Lisa Caraway
dc.description.abstractHospice care professionals provide care to the dying and support the bereaved. The setting for this study was a privately-owned hospice located in the southeastern United States. Because academia does not typically prepare students for work in end-of-life care, researchers project that in the current healthcare delivery system, there will not be enough trained caregivers (i.e., family or paid professionals) for older adults. This lack of formal education in end-of-life care requires hospice care professionals to learn how to provide care informally. The purpose of this study was to explore the informal learning of hospice care professionals within the context of their emotion work, with the aim of analyzing learning needs and proactively developing professional development interventions to address those needs. Three research questions guided the study: (1) What is the nature of the informal learning described by caregivers?; (2) what type of support is effective for individuals engaged in emotion work?; and (3) what is learned by an action research team exploring the emotion work of individuals who provide emotional support to those experiencing death and bereavement? The study methodology comprised an iterative, cyclical, four-step action research approach: (1) study and plan, (2) take action, (3) collect and analyze evidence, and (4) reflect. The nature of informal learning by hospice care professionals was organized into three categories: (1) process, (2) perspective, and (3) approach. Co-workers and hospice administrators were cited as providing both effective and ineffective support for individuals engaged in emotion work. The action research team members learned more about themselves as hospice care professionals and about the responsibilities of other non-clinical hospice roles in operating as a team. Significantly, the study found that, within the context of emotion work, the process of informal learning was often typified by a primary emotion quickly followed by a secondary emotion that encouraged a particular approach to a situation. In addition, the study results suggested that hospice support staff meetings, in addition to serving as a formal means of receiving new requirements and educational opportunities, provide a positive, structured routine in what is
dc.subjectAction research
dc.subjectDeath and dying
dc.subjectEmotion work
dc.subjectInformal learning
dc.subjectHospice care professionals
dc.subjectInterdisciplinary department teams
dc.subjectSupport staff
dc.titleHow do caregivers learn? exploring the informal learning of hospice care professionals
dc.description.departmentLifelong Education, Administration, and Policy
dc.description.majorAdult Education
dc.description.advisorKaren E. Watkins
dc.description.committeeKaren E. Watkins
dc.description.committeeLorilee R. Sandmann
dc.description.committeeKathleen deMarrais

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