Expression and reception of gratitude in healthcare

Year of award: 2018


  • Giskin Day

    King's College London

Project summary

Gratitude is an essential emotion that supports communicative human relationships. Expressions of gratitude form a significant source of patient feedback, but they are often overlooked or played down. A supportive culture in the workplace has been shown to be a good predictor of patient satisfaction, and staff wellbeing is linked to quality of care.

I will explore how gratitude is expressed and received in healthcare. The project consists of four interrelated phases: analysis of past and present thank-you letters and other gestures of gratitude from patients; mapping of sites of gratitude displays; ethnographic fieldwork; and a series of workshops to share emerging findings and shape recommendations for practice.

This study will make an important and original contribution to the field of gratitude studies. It will result in recommendations for improving dialogical relationships at a personal, interpersonal and institutional level.