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This article draws upon the emotion at work literature to explore how workers manage their feelings in dealing with death as a routine part of their working lives. It focuses on a specific group of workers, healthcare assistants (HCAs) in a hospital setting, who in delivering direct patient care have a particularly intimate relationship with dying and death. Based upon interview data from HCAs in four English acute hospital trusts, the article argues that the emotional outcomes of patient deaths can be explained by the nature of death as an event – its structure, context and actor circumstances – and by how HCAs appraise that event through the use of cognitive change and attentional deployment.


Journal article


Human Relations

Publication Date





291 - 312


death; emotion; management