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Accepted Paper:

“You feel like you're not looking after your own family”: COVID-19 and Competing Work/Family Caregiving Responsibilities among Hospital Doctors in Ireland  
Jennifer Louise Creese (University of Leicester) John-Paul Byrne (Royal College of Physicians of Ireland) Niamh Humphries (Royal College of Physicians of Ireland)

Paper short abstract:

COVID-19 threw work-family conflict into sharp relief for doctors. Called on to provide vital patient care, many faced challenges in their caregiving responsibilities at home. Using interviews with doctors in Ireland, we examine experiences of competing care responsibilities between work and family.

Paper long abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown work-family conflict, already highly problematic in the medical profession, into sharp relief for hospital doctors. They have been called on to provide vital frontline patient care, placing themselves at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, despite precautions and PPE (personal protective equipment). Yet the societal changes brought about by the pandemic and lockdown responses in Ireland have cause dilemmas for many doctors in meeting caregiving responsibilities outside work, for their children, spouses or parents. School and creche closures, regional travel bans, stigma and fear of COVID-19 transmission have all greatly impacted doctors’ personal lives, and many have struggled with competing professional and personal obligations and the tensions between them. The stress of these struggles has greatly impacted doctors’ social and emotional wellbeing, increasing their risk of burnout as the pandemic has continued. Drawing on interviews with 48 hospital doctors working in Irish hospitals about their experiences during the first COVID-19 wave (March-May 2020), this presentation explores dilemmas of caregiving they faced and the effects on their identities and wellbeing. COVID-19 has illustrated the contrast for the health system and society between seeing doctors as “essential workers” – reducing them to “labour units” (as per Humphries, Brugha and McGee, 2009) understood and valued in terms of the caregiving labour they do – and seeing them as human beings with families, relationships and obligations that are part of their total life space, in order to facilitate their work in the fight against the pandemic.

Panel Heal10a
Care, responsibility, and COVID-19 social restrictions I
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -