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Registered nurses' perceptions of their professional work in nursing homes and home-based care: a focus group study



Registered nurses' perceptions of their professional work in nursing homes and home-based care: a focus group study



International Journal of Nursing Studies 51(5): 761-767



In Sweden, as well as in most industrialised countries, an increasing older population is expected to create a growing demand for health care staff. Previous studies have pointed to lack of proficient medical and nursing staff specialised in geriatric care, which poses serious threats to the care of a vulnerable population. At the same time, there are studies describing elderly care as a low-status career choice, attracting neither nurses nor student nurses. Judging from previous research it was deemed important to explore how nurses in elderly care perceive their work, thus possibly provide vital knowledge that can guide nurse educators and unit managers as a means to promote a career in elderly care. The aim of the present study was to illuminate how nurses, working in nursing homes and home-based care, perceived their professional work. This was a qualitative study using focus groups. 30 registered nurses in seven focus groups were interviewed. The participants worked in nursing homes and home-based care for the elderly in rural areas and in a larger city in southern Sweden. The interviews were analysed in line with the tradition of naturalistic inquiry. Our findings illustrate how nurses working in elderly care perceived their professional work as holistic and respectful nursing. Three categories of professional work emerged during analysis: (1) establishing long-term relationships, (2) nursing beyond technical skills, and (3) balancing independence and a sense of loneliness. The findings are important as they represent positive alternatives to the somewhat prevailing view on elderly care as depressing and undemanding. Nurse educators might use the key aspects as good examples, thus influencing student nurses' attitudes towards elderly care in a positive way. Elderly care agencies might find them helpful when recruiting and retaining nurses to a much needed area.

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Accession: 055446152

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24176717

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2013.10.002


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