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Title: A comparative study of mid-life, women nurses working in the NHS and UK care homes
Author: Durant, Lesley
ISNI:       0000 0004 2694 3779
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis examines the working lives of mid-life (aged 40-55) women who are currently working as nurses. The research focuses on why these mid-life nurses demonstrate occupational and organisational commitment, and compares the NHS and care home sectors. The research explores how the differences in organisational structure, culture and context of these two sectors influence nurses' work orientation, job satisfaction and their motivation to continue nursing, incorporating sociological perspectives relating to commitment and intention to stay. For this qualitative study, in-depth interviews were conducted with a total of 50 registered nurses, 25 recruited from the NHS and 25 from the care home sector, all of whom had qualified in the UK and had nursed for 10 years or more (mean 20 years). To gain an understanding of the nurses' commitment, biographical and work history, data were collected from the participants at interview. Findings indicate that the nurses studied maintained a passion for nursing, and for some, this was the reason for moving to the care sector despite, or because of, professional and managerial restructuring in the NHS. However, nurses in both the NHS and care homes demonstrated an instrumental orientation to work, working because they need to earn a living wage. The findings confirm that flexible working conditions are important to nurses' work-family balance but this is not confined to women with children; equal treatment of all employees is an important issue. The thesis also establishes that respecting, valuing and appreciating the contribution of nurses' work is an important factor in nurses' organisational commitment. However, the different organisational structures, cultures and contexts influence nurses' experiences. The type of organisation they work in also affects the public's perceptions of and respect for the work of NHS and care home nurses. The research partially supports Becker's (1960) 'side bet' theory of commitment, that the reasons for remaining in the occupation often outweigh the option of leaving the job or career. The research concludes that nurses' occupational and organisational commitment is complex and organisations must understand and meet the needs of nurses to ensure long-term commitment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available