Organising work in neonatal transfer: Optimising place of care for babies born moderately preterm


The organisation of neonatal units into geographically‐based networks that offer different levels of care is intended to ensure babies receive the care they need via transfers between different units. In this article, we explore the significant organisational work required in practice to accomplish such transfers. Conducted within a wider study of optimal place of care for babies born between 27 and 31 weeks’ gestation, we draw on ethnographic work exploring the accomplishment of transfers in this complex care context. We undertook fieldwork in six neonatal units across two networks in England, representing 280 hours of observation and formal interviews with 15 health‐care professionals. Drawing on Strauss et al.’s concept of the social organisation of medicine and Allen’s concept of ‘organising work’, we identify three distinct forms of such work central to the successful accomplishment of a neonatal transfer: (1) ‘matchmaking’, to identify a suitable transfer location; (2) ‘transfer articulation’, to successfully effect the planned transfer; and (3) ‘parent engagement’, to support parents through the transfer process. Our findings build on and extend Strauss et al. and Allen’s work by both highlighting the different forms of ‘organising work’ undertaken in this clinical context and the distribution of such work across different professional groups.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Policy
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Centre for Health and Society
Additional Information: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Sociology of Health & Illness published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Research Funding Health Services and Delivery Research Programme. Grant Number: 15/70/104 Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellowship National Institute for Health & Care Research, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration East Midlands, ARC EM
Uncontrolled Keywords: decision-making,ethnography,invisible work,neonatal care,neonatology,organising work,Health(social science),Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health,Health Policy
Publication ISSN: 1467-9566
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2024 07:22
Date Deposited: 30 May 2023 15:37
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Related URLs: https://onlinel ... 1467-9566.13656 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-11
Published Online Date: 2023-05-26
Accepted Date: 2023-05-05
Submitted Date: 2022-07-29
Authors: Paton, Alexis (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4310-6983)
Cupit, Caroline
Armstrong, Natalie



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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