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Many nurses have trouble balancing work and family responsibilities, according to a national survey of RNs. Work is more likely to interfere with family life than vice versa. Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine say their study is the first to provide reliable estimates of work/family conflict among nurses.


The researchers surveyed RNs in various metropolitan areas, which is where 78% of all RNs live. Nurses answered questions relating to work/home life conflicts. Half reported chronic interference of work with family time, and 41% reported episodic interference of work with family time. Chronic was defined as at least once a week; episodic as 1 to 3 days per month.


Family life was less likely to interfere with work: only 11% reported chronic interference of family life with work; 52% reported episodic interference.


Researchers say their study is important because work/family conflicts can prompt nurses to leave the profession and discourage others from entering it, worsening the nursing shortage. They call for more research to determine if flexible work arrangements (such as job sharing) reduce the frequency of conflict.




Quantifying work-family conflict among registered nurses, Research in Nursing and Health, JG Grzywacz, et al., October 2006.