Work demands, social support, and job satisfaction in eating disorder inpatient settings: A qualitative study

This qualitative study aimed to investigate work demands experienced by healthcare workers in an adult eating disorders inpatient service. It also aimed to investigate the use of social support and job satisfaction in this setting. Twelve healthcare workers from an eating disorders inpatient ward, including nurses, healthcare support workers and occupational therapists, participated in semi-structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. A number of work demands were discussed relating to therapeutic care, physical care and organisational demands. Most participants discussed social support at work as being highly valuable formally and informally, whereas external support was viewed as less important. Despite the challenges of caring for eating disordered patients, the majority of participants reported good patient-related job satisfaction but poor job satisfaction in relation to organisational factors. Eating disorders inpatient care is complex and demanding, necessitating effective teamwork, communication and support systems among healthcare workers. Interventions should be developed to target barriers to care, including time constraints, administrative workload and insufficient allocation of staff.