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How action researchers use anxiety to facilitate change in health care

Evans, Nicola ORCID: and Hopkinson, Jane B. ORCID: 2016. How action researchers use anxiety to facilitate change in health care. Journal of Clinical Nursing 25 (11-12) , pp. 1674-1682. 10.1111/jocn.13186

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Aim The aim of this paper is to report on the role of an action researcher in a study investigating the change process in a health service context where a new assessment clinic was developed to manage the excessive waiting list for that service. Background For effective organisational change in health, there is a suggestion that change agents need to be emotionally intelligent; recognising the emotional state of individuals, reconciling that with the organisational drivers and making an assessment of readiness for organisational change. Anxiety features throughout this literature and there is a suggestion that being aware of anxiety and managing anxiety is within the emotionally intelligent change agent's repertoire, but there is a gap in the literature that explains this relationship in detail. Methods Data were generated to investigate the discrete nature of the role of the action researcher during this organisational change that spanned two years, through three methods: participant observations in the field captured in field notes (n = 72); observations of team meetings that had been recorded and transcribed (n = 13); interviews with key informants pre- and postintervention (n = 14); a reflexive diary one document of 8920 words (n = 1). Findings The data illuminating the interaction between the action researcher and participants were synthesised into two broad themes: how the action researcher introduced anxiety into the system; how the action researcher facilitated the participants to tolerate change anxiety. Discussion/relevance to clinical practice The findings from this study can be applied in clinical practice where change in practice is planned. Part of the requirement of a change agent in the NHS might be to be sufficiently emotionally literate to understand anxiety in the participant system and manage it to effect change.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0962-1067
Funders: Health Foundation Leading Practice
Date of Acceptance: 9 December 2015
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 09:43

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