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Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA): Exploring Palliative Care Physicians’ Grief Experiences in the Hospice Context

Kayatz, J. (2023). Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA): Exploring Palliative Care Physicians’ Grief Experiences in the Hospice Context. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


For palliative care physicians death and dying and facing patient loss can be a daily reality. The patient-physician relationship in palliative care can involve high emotional engagement and predispose both parties to vulnerability. Literature indicates that there is a dearth of research examining the grief that palliative care physicians’ may experience in their professional roles over patient deaths. It is the author’s understanding that studies that explicitly explore the phenomena of palliative care physicians’ grief experiences in the hospice context in the UK have not been conducted. This qualitative study aimed to enrich the understanding of the nuanced experiences of Palliative Care Physicians’ (PCP) grief in the hospice context. Semi-structured interviews were carried out and the transcribed interviews were analysed by employing an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) method. The six participants of the research study were palliative care physicians working in hospices in the UK. The analytic findings resulted in five Group Experiential Themes: 1) The relational tension; 2) Making sense of the complex emotional layers related to grief; 3) Managing grief tied to professionalism; 4) A process of learning to relate to grief; and 5) From disconnection from others to connection with self. The key findings were discussed and contextualized by linking them to the wider literature. Grief seems to be an elemental part of humanity for physicians in the hospice context but some of the findings suggested that PCPs may need to be better prepared for emotional involvement with patients. Clinical implications for the field and practice of Counselling Psychology, palliative care and other relevant contexts were discussed. The quality and validity, the strengths and limitations of the research study were also discussed, in addition to opportunities for future research.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Kayatz Thesis 2023 Redacted PDF-A.pdf]
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