(In)visible Hero: Heroism as an Aid in the Extraction of Care Labour During the COVID-19 Pandemic
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This honours thesis examined the myriad ways in which discourse supported the extraction and overproduction of care labour through the use of heroism labels. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the label of heroism was used to describe the contributions of Healthcare Workers (HCWs) in different settings. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, care labour was largely considered an invisible occupation (Hennekam et al., 2020). However, the severe impact of the pandemic on collective health and wellbeing resulted in a drastic shift in the ways that care labour was framed and discussed. I highlight the use of heroism by policy makers, Long Term Care Homes (LTCHs) and mainstream media as a prop to meet the critical needs of heroism through HCW labour. This sudden shift in care discourse created a potentially harmful arena with limited capacity to support this heroism narrative long after the pandemic has ended.ﾠThus, questioning the motivation, validity and durability of this narrative in a post-pandemic world. One in which care labour will continue to exist and be required in large quantities to sustain the ever-changing LTCH system. This study utilized critical framing theory (Entman 1993; Fridkin et al, 2017) to further understand how heroism has been positioned and constructed to acquire, maintain, and over-ask of care workers and their labour. Critical narrative inquiries (Austin & Anderson, 2021; Tracy, 2013) were utilized to describe the lived experiences of the heroism narrative amongst HCWs employed in LTCHs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings in this research study indicated that HCWs felt as though the use of heroism discourse along with the overproduction of labour disconnected them from rest, respite, and community. Additionally, themes of sacrifice, moral injury and perceived risk in healthcare settings were identified and further discussed. Future implications including stronger pandemic preparedness policy, and interprofessional collaboration are also considered and discussed.
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Crystal-Jade Cargill (2022). (In)visible Hero: Heroism as an Aid in the Extraction of Care Labour During the COVID-19 Pandemic. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18418