Work-Life Balance: Motivations and Obstacles to Work for Injured Hospital Nurses

Thursday, 25 July 2013: 8:30 AM

Kathleen Mullen, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Dominican University of California, San Rafael, CA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will better understand the nurses experience of work injury and the range of motivations and obstacles to work after injury.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe work environment factors and workers compensation experiences that impact injured hospital nurses as they provide patient care.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine motivations and obstacles experienced by hospital nurses who endeavor to work after injury by focusing on the injury experience, work climate, risk of re-injury, workers' compensation, and issues related to personal lifestyle. 

Methods:  Motivations and Obstacles to Work for the Injured Hospital Nurse (MORE Nurses Study), used ground theory methodology including coding and conceptualization in the analysis of the data. Nurse participants (n =16) provided patient care in two different medical centers in California; however, four received their nursing education outside the United States. The sample included nurses married, with families, and those who were single. 

Results: Nurses were able to clearly articulate examples of work-life balance and gave vivid descriptions of their motivations to gain/regain a balance between work and home demands. Participants reported fear of injury based on their own experiences and witnessing career-ending injuries to co-workers. Many were reluctant to report an injury for reasons related to stigma of disability, desensitization of self-needs, and their loyalty as nurses to provide patient care. Conceptual sub-categories emerged from the data.  From them, the conceptual description of nursing together represented the connections nurses share, which motivate them to work after injury.  

Conclusions: Nurses are compelled to do their work based on deep beliefs related to the importance of caring for another human being in need. The degree to which nurses personally connect with nursing as something more than a job, influences their perseverance to maintain work, the quality of the patient care they delivery, where they chose to work, connections with co-workers, and how they balance these demands with their family and community identity. Such connections are essential in determining whether nurses will find ways to nurse together in the physically and emotionally demanding hospital setting while striving to find a satisfying balance with their life outside of work.