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Experiences of reduced work hours for nurses and assistant nurses at a surgical department: A qualitative study

Journal article
Authors Kristina Gyllensten
Gunnar Andersson
Helena Muller
Published in BMC Nursing
Volume 16
Issue 16
ISSN 1472-6955
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords Assistant nurses, Nurses, Psychosocial working environment, Qualitative research, Reduced work hours, Work-life balance, human, human experiment, nurse, orthopedic surgery, semi structured interview, surgical ward, Sweden, work environment
Subject categories Health Sciences


Background: There is a shortage of registered nurses in the European Union (EU), and job dissatisfaction and perceived high work-family conflict have been identified as causes of nursing staff turnover. Reducing work hours is an organisational intervention that could have a positive effect on nurses' and assistant nurses' job satisfaction, work-life balance, and willingness to stay in the job. An orthopaedic surgery department at a large hospital in Sweden introduced reduced work hours for nurses and assistant nurses in order to improve the working situation. The aim of the study was to investigate the experiences of reduced work hours and no lunch breaks among nurses and assistant nurses at an orthopaedic surgery department at a hospital in Sweden, with a particular focus on recovery and psychosocial working environment. Methods: A qualitative design was used in the study. Eleven nurses and assistant nurses working at the particular orthopaedic department took part in the study, and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. The interviews were analysed by interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: Four main themes were developed in the analysis of the data: A more sustainable working situation, Improved work-life balance, Consequences of being part of a project, and Improved quality of care. Each theme consisted of subthemes. Conclusions: Overall, reduced work hours appeared to have many, mainly positive, effects for the participants in both work and home life. © 2017 The Author(s).

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