Older people living in nursing homes or other community care facilities: Registered Nurses' views of their working situation and co-operation with family members

Karin Weman, Mona Kihlgren, Ingegerd Fagerberg
Journal of Clinical Nursing 2004, 13 (5): 617-26

BACKGROUND: Little attention has been paid to Registered Nurses' working conditions and how they experience their working situation in community health care. The nurses' vocational background is of interest, as well as their apprehension about communicating and co-operating with the older persons' family members.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to describe Registered Nurses' views of their working situation in community health care and of co-operation with family members of older people living in nursing homes or similar facilities.

DESIGN: The study was carried out in a geographically defined area in the south of Sweden. A questionnaire was sent to all the Registered Nurses (n = 314) working within community health care of whom 210 Registered Nurses replied to the questionnaires.

METHODS: Latent content analysis was used on the comments to six questions, in order to illuminate the statistical findings from the statements of the questions measured by the Likert scale.

RESULTS: The results showed that almost half of the Registered Nurses working in care of older people are not satisfied with their working situation. The nurses with less than 5 years working experience find their working situation most stimulating. All of them expressed that it is important that there is co-operation between themselves and the family members and it was also considered important to develop models that could improve co-operation. Male nurses believed, to a lesser extent, that family members were a resource in caring, compared with female nurses; however, all male nurses stressed the importance of facilitating informal caregivers. Nurses with more than 5 years of working experience expressed that it was important that family members show engagement in caring for older people. Furthermore, they expressed that it was necessary that the family members took care of the older persons' interests.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The findings that half of the Registered Nurses are dissatisfied with their working situation have relevance in clinical practice because of the risk of losing competent nurses in this area.

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