All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Patricia Drentea

Advisory Committee Members

Jonathon Daw

Cynthis Ryan

Mieke Thomeer

Beverly Williams

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


ABSTRACT This dissertation offers an understanding of how the emotional labor of caring by female nurses is manifested, and whether this has changed from what has previously been described in the literature. A hybrid of Hochschild‘s (1983) theory of emotional labor is used with concepts from symbolic interactionist and critical theory to guide this inquiry. From this lens, relevant concepts affecting emotional labor are considered in order to examine how the organization of work roles for nurses enable or constrain their ability to manifest a caring presence. As the healthcare delivery system and nurses‘ roles have changed dramatically over the past century, looking at how nurses‘ caring is configured into their work identity is useful for tracking changes in identity and career expectations. This work is important because there is some indication that market driven approaches focusing more on manipulating the perception of caring and quality care, are displacing the opportunities for caring by nurses. First, I review key terms essential to the study, particularly caring and emotional labor and then use theory and a review of literature on emotional labor through the lens of caring and gender. The specific research questions addressed in this research, from the qualitative data of female registered nurses (RN) are: ‗what is caring, how is it learned, what gets in the way of it and what facilities it?‘ Finally a thematic analysis of interview data is interpreted from a critical theory, symbolic interactionist and late capitalism perspective, with regard to the discourse of caring by nurses.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.