Occupational adaptation in the workplace: Experiences of professionals entering and practicing in a healthcare facility
Brayman, Sara J.
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Occupational adaptation, a model describing the normative person-environment interaction is used to frame a three part qualitative study of individual worker adaptation in the health care setting. Literature from occupational therapy and from organizational psychology is used to provide philosophical underpinnings to this exploration. The first two studies utilize an orientational qualitative approach to examine the person environment-interaction. Study One explores the person component of the model and through guided interview, examines the adaptation repertoire that is possessed by individuals and applied to meet challenges anticipated from the work environment. Study Two explores the phenomenon of the adaptation process as experienced by these same professional healthcare workers during their first three months on their new jobs. During the interviews, informants describe their interactions with their new occupational environments, and identify the processes employed to refine their responses to the challenges presented in their new jobs. They complete graphic representations of their resources utilized to approach the challenges on their jobs. These graphs either serve to corroborate or refute their narrative descriptions. Data gleaned from these interviews is coded, compared and classified to reflect emerging themes that describe the phenomenon experienced by each individual participating in the study. The third study provides perspective about the healthcare system. This rapidly changing and often turbulent occupational environment is examined through the reflections ofhealthcare·professionals in a series of small interdisciplinary focus groups at one facility. Their perspectives on the environment provide the context for the exploration of individual adaptation in the work setting.