Women Professionals of Color at U.S. Medical Schools Navigating Emotional Labor
AuthorGivens, Raquel Hernandez
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation presents an ethnographic exploration of the experiences of nontrans women professionals of color employed at U.S. medical schools, focusing on the intersectionality of gender and race and its influence on emotional labor. By conducting qualitative interviews, this research seeks to elucidate the multifaceted nature of emotional labor within the context of medical school environments and shed light on the participants' perceptions of their roles. The study's objective is to comprehend how the convergence of gender and race shapes the emotional labor of women professionals of color in medical schools, examining the intricacies of their experiences and the impact of these experiences on the broader mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion within these institutions. Thirteen women professionals of color were interviewed, encompassing various organizational positions and racial/ethnic backgrounds, to capture a range of perspectives. The findings underscore the integral role that emotional labor plays in the daily tasks and responsibilities of the women professionals interviewed. The participants' contributions to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within their respective medical schools were intricately intertwined with their emotional labor. Moreover, the data analysis revealed nuances that cut across both organizational positions and racial/ethnic identities, offering a deeper understanding of the distinct challenges faced by these professionals. A significant divergence was identified between groups with Black and Middle Eastern participants, as they reported experiencing racialized emotions in their roles. This aligns with existing scholarship on racialized emotions and supports the notion that the emotional labor of women professionals of color cannot be detached from the racial dynamics within medical institutions (Wingfield; Bonilla-Silva). Furthermore, the study illuminates the participants' agency in managing emotional labor. They exhibited self-awareness and adeptly performed their gender and race roles to navigate through the gendered and racialized landscape of medicine. Additionally, the importance of finding community emerged as a vital coping strategy, as these professionals leveraged collective support to overcome the challenges inherent in their roles. In summary, this ethnographic study contributes to the growing body of knowledge on emotional labor, gender, and race within organizational contexts, with a specific focus on U.S. medical schools. The findings emphasize the intricate interplay of emotional labor and diversity initiatives, while also highlighting the agency of nontrans women professionals of color as they negotiate their roles in a complex and dynamic environment.
Degree ProgramGraduate College