Becoming Someone Different: A Grounded Theory Study of How Nurses Integrate Pregnancy and Full Time Employment

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Paul Gregory Quinn, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, CNM, RN-BC, NEA-BC, CEN, CCRN
Maternal Child Health, White Plains Hospital, White Plains, NY, USA

In the United States, 40% of the contemporary nursing workforce is comprised of women of childbearing age, 65% of whom are employed full-time. Hence, the likelihood of pregnancy occurring for this population at some point in their employment is high.  A holistic exploration of how nurses integrate pregnancy and full-time employment has been lacking. The purpose of this research was to explore how primiparous nurses managed pregnancy and full-time employment.  Using a grounded theory approach, nurses who were pregnant and delivered their first baby, while employed full-time on 12-hour work shifts, provided a firsthand account of how they incorporated pregnancy with employment.

Nurses, as social actors, experience many interactions in their workplace environment. The basic social process, becoming someone different, emerged to explain those interactions and allowed a substantive grounded theory to be developed. From that exploration, the researcher will present the basic social process, becoming someone different, and the four  core categories that arose from the analysis:

1) looking different, feeling different – to explain how the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy result in nurses  looking and feeling differently about themselves as nurses;

2) expectations while expecting – where the nurse, with previous experiences and ideas about what is expected of her and what she expects from others, changes how she sees herself, based upon her interactions in the workplace with her peers and coworkers;

3) connecting differently – explains how the nurse, while pregnant, develops new relationships and interactions with the people in her environment, specifically her peers, coworkers and patients, and

4) transitioning labor – where, despite challenges from interactions within the workplace from coworkers or tasks, the participant nurses began to focus on their eventual maternity leave and working as long as possible up to the time of delivery in order to prolong that maternity leave