Work–family conflict of nurses in Japan

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Abstract

Aims and objectives

The purpose of this paper is to explore the determinants of work–family conflict among Japanese nurses by using microdata describing nurses' characteristics working at health facilities in Japan. We focus in particular on the impacts of shift work and workplace child care support on the conflict between work and child care with preschool children.

Background

With a declining fertility trend, it is not easy to recruit sufficient number of nurses from the pool of graduate nurses. Therefore, support for reemployment of inactive nurses and prevention of turnover and enhancement of retention for active nurses have become the important strategies, along with the recruitment of new graduates.

Design and method

We focus on the impacts of (i) flexibility in shift work and (ii) child care support at work, on the conflict between work and child care through performing multivariate regression analysis. The data used in this study come from a survey conducted on members of the Japanese Nursing Association as of the end of July 2001. Concerning shift work and child care support, we limited the sample to the full-time female employees. The sample is limited to 378 respondents who were mothers of preschool children.

Result

The results can be summarised as follows: (i) working night shifts does not have a significant effect on the conflict in balancing work and child care. Also findings show that three-shift duty is more likely to increase the conflict. (ii) When supportiveness about child care responsibilities with small children is absent at work, the conflict is likely to increase. (iii) For mothers working night shifts, the reduction of the duties are likely to reduce the conflict.

Conclusion

These results highlight the importance of establishing a system in which nurses can select the work hours flexibly and to promote awareness at work regarding the importance of child care support to strike balance between the nursing work and child-raising.

Relevance to clinical practice

The difficulty in balancing work and child care is one of the main factors that prevent inactive nurses from returning to work. Also, enrichment of child care support is important to reemploying inactive nurses. Therefore, revealing the difficulty that nurses experience in balancing work and child care, and the effectiveness of child care support for securing nursing labour, is highly relevant to clinical practice.

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