No longer fledglings but struggling to fly: peer support workers' experiences of forming an occupational identity within an urban NHS trust: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Ward, Eileen (2021) No longer fledglings but struggling to fly: peer support workers' experiences of forming an occupational identity within an urban NHS trust: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

Background:
Mental health policy promoting the notion of self-management and the patient as the expert welcomed the advent of peer support (Watson, 2017; Gillard, 2019), which is now regarded as the fastest growing profession within mental health services (Rebeiro Gruhl et al., 2016). Research has noted the benefits of using peer support workers (PSWs) to encourage service user (SU) involvement by using their shared identity to improve mental health, well-being and confidence (Gillard et al., 2013; Simpson et al., 2018; Davidson et al., 2012).

Rationale:
With increased numbers of PSWs employed within the NHS, it is essential to understand how PSWs develop/construct their occupational identity (OI). Employment has been shown to positively affect individuals well-being by affording them a sense of identity and purpose. How OI is experienced during development and then maintained will be the focus of this research.

Methodology and main findings:
An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was adopted for this research. Three superordinate themes were generated from the semi-structured interviews and analysis: 1) Symbiotic Green Shoots of Identity; 2) The Occupied Self; 3) A Limited and Limiting Role. The findings provide a timeline of how participants developed their OI, highlighting the life-changing events that led to a greater sense of self and a more meaningful life. By feeling accomplished at work, being future-orientated and having a solid OI provided participants with the motivation to spread their metaphorical wings and explore the transferability of their skills. However, despite participants significant experience of performing the role, they were met with a series of organisational hurdles that appeared to invalidate their OI outside of the originating organisation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: peer support workers (PSW); occupational identity (OI); interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA); NHS mental health services
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 360 Social problems & services; associations
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
Department: School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2021 12:25
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2021 12:25
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/6934

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