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Keywords:

  • focus groups;
  • hospital nurses;
  • qualitative research;
  • quality of working life;
  • research report;
  • Taiwan

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study describing the quality of working life of nurses in Taiwan. The purpose of the study was to gather data on which to base a questionnaire to be used in further research.

Background.  Nurses often complain of overwork and underpay. Problems persist with nurses’ job satisfaction, stress, organizational commitment and intent to leave. ‘Quality of working life’ is a system of analysing how people experience work: it relates to job satisfaction, intent to leave, turnover rate, personality and work stress. However, reliable information on hospital nurses’ quality of working life is limited.

Method.  A descriptive study was carried out with a convenience sample. A total of 16 focus groups in one medical centre and five regional hospitals informed a quality of working life framework. Each group had three to five participants who were Registered Nurses in medical or surgical wards with at least 2 years’ nursing experience, and who held a position below assistant nurse manager. The data were collected in 2000.

Findings.  A total of 56 nurses’ quality of working life categories were identified and fitted into six dimensions: socio-economic relevance, demography, organizational aspects, work aspects, human relation aspects and self-actualization. In this paper, we focus on issues emphasized by focus group participants. These were managing shift work within the demands of family life; accommodation; support resources; and nurses’ clinical ladder system and salary system.

Conclusions.  Further research is needed with other groups of nurses in a wider variety of settings in order to examine strengths and weaknesses in the total healthcare work environment and to develop appropriate strategies for nurses’ quality of working life.