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Health care staff's opinions about an individually controlled and flexible working time arrangement
Kristianstad University, School of Health and Society. (Tema Människa-Hälsa-Samhälle)
Kristianstad University, School of Health and Society. (Tema Människa-Hälsa-Samhälle)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9283-5096
Kristianstad University, School of Health and Society, Avdelningen för Hälsovetenskap. Kristianstad University, Forskningsmiljön Människa - Hälsa - Samhälle (MHS).
2009 (English)In: / [ed] Working time society, 2009Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction

In the health care sector shift work is common and a variety of flexible working hour arrangements have been implemented and evaluated. High variability of working hours is repeatedly being related to ill health, especially if the variability is company controlled. In order to minimize the harmful effects on health and psychosocial wellbeing individually controlled flexible working time arrangements have been put into practice.

 

Aim

The aim of this study was to explore health care staff’s opinions about their individually controlled and flexible working time arrangement.

 

Methods

Eight focus group interviews were conducted, between November 2002 and February 2003, at a medical emergency ward in a medium sized Swedish hospital. Sixteen nurses and 19 assistant nurses where mixed in the eight groups. The interviews aimed at being unstructured and the main question emanated from the aim of the study. The analysis was influenced by qualitative content analysis. Five interviews were chosen through a condensation process and these interviews were transcribed verbatim by an external secretary.

 

Results

Two patterns of employees’ opinions were revealed. Some of the participants expressed a positive attitude towards their individually controlled and flexible working time arrangement. They enjoyed the possibility to adjust their working schedule to their family situation and leisure activities. The positive ones were also talking about a health promoting possibility for reflection and learning, emanating from frequently working with different co workers, as a result of the flexibility. These participants emphasised an importance of everyone taking part in the planning process and taking turns in adjusting their schedule after the needs of the establishment. Other participants linked the individually controlled and flexible working time arrangement to a negative experience. They talked about a time consuming planning process resulting in less predictable working hours. These participants wanted to have a permanent schedule so that they could adjust their private life after their working hours. The negative ones wanted work to be characterised by predictability and efficiency. They linked this type of work to knowing their co workers well, so that they knew what the other ones were doing without having to communicate while working. The latter group of participants were reluctant to adjusting their schedule after the needs of the establishment.

 

Conclusions

It seems as if an individually controlled and flexible working time arrangement can result in either positive or negative experiences. Negative feelings form the base for psychological and biological processes that might have a negative impact on health. It is therefore important to reflect on how we implement and organise individually controlled and flexible working time arrangements for employees to have positive experiences with opportunities for sustained or improved health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009.
Keyword [en]
Working time arrangement, health care staff, health
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-5586OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-5586DiVA: diva2:282824
Conference
The International Symposium on Shiftwork and Working Time. Health and Wellbeing in the 24-h Society
Note

19th International Symposium on Shiftwork and Working Time, "Health and Well-being in the 24-h Society" - San Servolo Island, Venezia, Italy, 2-6 August 2009

Available from: 2009-12-22 Created: 2009-12-22 Last updated: 2014-01-15Bibliographically approved

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Authority records BETA

Andersson, Ingemar H.Ejlertsson, Göran

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School of Health and SocietyAvdelningen för HälsovetenskapForskningsmiljön Människa - Hälsa - Samhälle (MHS)
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and EpidemiologyMedical and Health Sciences

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • ieee
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  • vancouver
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