New roles and challenges within the healthcare workforce: a Heideggerian perspective

Wilson, Anthea (2015). New roles and challenges within the healthcare workforce: a Heideggerian perspective. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 29(1) pp. 2–9.




To explore insights based on the phenomenology of Martin Heidegger, on the dynamic relationships between human experience and work roles.

Drawing on the findings of a hermeneutic phenomenological study of nurse mentors, the topics of new roles and role challenges are explored, along with a consideration of their relevance to wider issues of workforce redesign. Heidegger’s philosophy of Dasein, in particular his concepts of inauthentic and authentic self, provided an interpretational lens. This paper applies these philosophical concepts to challenges associated with a changing workforce.

Concepts elaborating human existence as proposed by Heidegger may offer analytic structures for understanding shifts in the lived experience of a changing workplace. In particular, the concepts could help managers to explore the implications of introducing novel work roles or extending roles. The understanding gained can also extend to situations where work practices may need to be challenged.

As work roles and skill mix undergo rapid shifts, this paper offers an original way of understanding the experience of work roles.

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