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Balancing the scales—Nurses’ attempts at meeting family and employer needs in a work-intensified environment

journal contribution
posted on 2020-09-22, 00:00 authored by Clare HarveyClare Harvey, Adele BaldwinAdele Baldwin, S Thompson, Eileen WillisEileen Willis, A Meyer, M Pearson, E Otis
Aims: This paper describes findings from a survey conducted in New Zealand exploring nurses’ decision-making about when to delay care, delegate care, hand care over or leave care undone. Unanticipated findings identified processes that nurses go through when deciding to take planned/unplanned leave when wards are constrained through budget limitations. Background: Missed/rationed care is increasingly the focus of attention in international studies, identifying a complex interplay of organisational, professional and personal factors affecting nurses’ decision-making when faced with limited organisational time, human and material resources to provide care. Methods: The survey presented nurses with Likert-scale questions with option for free text comments. This paper reports on the commentaries about work–life balance. Results: Nurses described workload pressures that lead to rationing care affected them, and the long-term effect on them as individuals. Nurses verbalized the difficulties and associated guilt about taking leaving and sick leave when wards were short staffed. Conclusions: Nurses consider how their absence will affect the workspace and their home first, considering the impact on themselves last. Implications: The findings may provide valuable insights for nurse managers in relation to workforce allocations and resources where acknowledgement of work–life balance is considered. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

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External Author Affiliations

Flinders University; Eastern Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Era Eligible

  • Yes


Journal of Nursing Management