Bi-Directional work to life conflict: An investigation of work-life balance for nurses in acute public hospital settings in Ireland
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The overall research question this thesis will address is; How does Work-Life Balance Policy and Practice Affect Nurses Work-Life Balance in Public Hospital Settings in Ireland? In order to do this, four sub-research questions have been asked which include what work-life balance (WLB) policies are available, how are they implemented and the factors which affect their implementation. Furthermore the extent work-life balance (WLB) policies are availed of is questioned and the factors influencing this use together with how Nurses rate their current Work-Life Balance? The final question asks how do Nurses experience Work-Life Conflict (WLC) and Life-Work Conflict (LWC) and what is the association between (a) availability and (b) usage of Work-life balance (WLB) policies and practices on these experiences? This study's research methodology includes both qualitative and quantitative methods. Following documentary analysis a survey was designed to collect both qualitative and quantitative types of information and was then distributed. 225 nursing respondents became involved in the study from around Ireland. Fifty separate qualitative interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. The key themes of availability, implementation, usage and impact of Work-Life Balance policies and practices during a particular timeframe were investigated to fill particular gaps identified in the literature. Key identification and categorisation of work-life policies and practices statutory and non-statutory/discretionary (formal and informal) were outlined as well as categorising the circumstances work-life balance (WLB) policies assist individuals. This thesis has identified top level findings which illustrate that both statutory and non-statutory work-life balance policy options currently exist. However being able to access all of these is uncertain within a challenging economic context e.g. parental leave or some can be made unavailable during a recruitment moratorium e.g. reducing/increasing hours within the public sector. This is due to budget restrictions and increasing staffing shortages. In this study Nurses overall satisfaction rating with their current work-life balance (WLB) showed 49.3% were satisfied while 39.1% indicated that they were not satisfied with their current Work-Life Balance. Work-Life Conflict (WLC) and Life-Work Conflict (LWC) are shown to be significantly correlated. Work-Life Conflict was also shown to be significantly correlated to both Length of Time in Current Position and the Number of Hours worked per week. The longer the work hours and the greater the Length of Time in Current Position correlates with greater Work-Life Conflict results. Life-Work Conflict (LWC) had a significant negative correlation with Martial Status with LWC being more prevalent for those married compared to any other stated status (Single, Living with Partner, Separated or Divorced). Career Consequences had a significant negative correlation with Job hours (Full Time, Part-Time, Job Sharing) illustrating those part-time or job sharing perceived more Career Consequences than those on full time hours from the use of Work-Life Balance policies. Other correlation results indicate that increased Work-Life Conflict is statistically related to increased Supervisor Support results and reduced Career Consequences. Supervisor Support has a significant negative correlation to Career Consequences, illustrating the more support, the less negative Career Consequences. Further qualitative findings elaborate and illustrate the personal experiences of Nurses managing their work and non-work lives on an ongoing basis. This research provides evidence for Nurses employed in the public sector. It illustrates the impact of available work-life balance policies and practices together with information concerning the implementation and usage of such policies and practices on Nurses experience of WLC and LWC. Decreasing Work-Life Conflict and increasing Work-Life Balance contributes to retaining motivated nursing professionals and so is critical towards the goal of achieving quality, affordability and efficiency in the delivery of health services
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