UNIVERSITY OF OULU
Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing and
Diaconal workers' descriptions of their work
and coping at work
110 pages, 4 appendices (9 pages)
The current study aimed at describing diaconal
work, being at work and coping with it from the diaconal
workers' point of view. The research approach was qualitative. The
research data were gathered using the role-playing method and a
questionnaire with open-ended questions. The role-playing method
was used to gather data through two frame stories among diaconal
workers in the deaneries of Liminka, Kalajoki and Raahe. The number
of frame stories was 57. The questionnaires with open-ended
questions were sent to all the diaconal workers in the Diocese of
Oulu (N=153). The number of questionnaires returned was 79 (51.6
%). 76 of the questionnaires were included in the data analysis.
The analysis was carried out using inductive content analysis.
The diaconal workers are mainly highly
motivated for and enjoy their work. Diaconal work involves skilled
helping, comprehensive support and prevention of distress.
Important things in the work include intensive encounters with
people, comprehensive support for them, and the rewards of the
work. These issues reinforce the feeling of success at work. Less
important work functions include those in which there are no
intensive encounters with people and the work consists of endless
service. In such cases the worker feels that she has failed in her
work. A meaningful working and private life promotes coping at
work. On the basis of the results, a preliminary model was
elaborated according to which involvement in diaconal work, the
contents of the work, success at work and coping with it are all
related to each other. The worker's motivation for diaconal work
and job satisfaction are connected with the contents of work,
helping, encountering, supporting and serving the customer,
prevention of distress, the experience of success at work, feeling
of the rewards of work as well as the meaningfulness of her work
and private life. Correspondingly, the meaningfulness of work or
private life can have an impact on the contents of work, the
experience of success at work and being at work.
The knowledge produced in this study can be
utilised in diaconal work and in the planning and implementation of
education in this field. The model produced here adds to the
understanding of the connections between doing diaconal work, the
contents of the work and coping at work.
Keywords: diaconal work, coping at work.