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Nurses Struggling to Balance Work, Family

Report warns of the potential for burnout and low recruitment

FRIDAY, Sept. 15, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Many U.S. nurses are having a tough time balancing work and family life, a new study finds.

These struggles could impact on patient care, researchers warn.

"Work-family conflict has significant implications for nurses in terms of personal health, their ability to provide quality care and for the nursing profession itself," study author Joseph Grzywacz, an associate professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest University, said in a prepared statement.

His team surveyed 1,906 registered nurses to find out how common work-family conflict is in the nursing community.

Work-family conflict occurs when work interferes with responsibilities at home or the time spent with family. It can also happen when home life gets in the way of a person's career.

The results of the survey, published in the September issue of Research in Nursing & Health, suggested that work-life conflict is common among nurses.

Half of the nurses reported that work interfered with their family life at least one day a week. Only 11 percent reported that family interfered with work this often.

The problem could exacerbate the current nursing shortage by discouraging people from entering the nursing profession or driving current nurses to leave their jobs. In previous studies, work-family conflict has been associated with lower job satisfaction, fatigue, burnout, and emotional distress or depressive symptoms.

The researchers concluded that future studies should investigate whether flexible work arrangements, such as job sharing, can reduce the frequency of work-family conflict.

More information

The American Psychological Association has more about stress in the workplace.

SOURCES: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, news release, Sept. 15, 2006
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