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An exploration of the psychological contract of staff nurses in a children’s hospice

Coughlan, Clare (2017) An exploration of the psychological contract of staff nurses in a children’s hospice. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Aim: This study explores the psychological contract of staff nurses working in a Children’s Hospice in Ireland.

Background: Central to the concept of the psychological contract is the idea that mutual beliefs, expectations and obligations develop outside of the written contract of employment and require careful consideration and attention. There are widespread, nursing staff shortages at present which are expected to worsen over the coming years. Reform of public healthcare management has seen a move to a more business like environment where changes in management practices have conflicted at times with traditional nursing values. Against the above background, the importance of understanding the needs and expectations of this group is evident.

Study Design: A qualitative research approach was conducted using a case study design. Using purposeful sampling 17 face to face interviews with nurses and nurse managers were completed. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed and the data was analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings: Four themes emerged from the data namely, formation of the psychological contract, professional development and support, communication involvement and trust and professional ideology and commitment. The findings revealed that the staff nurse’s expectations are being met with regards to the quality of care provided, the collegial atmosphere and the support levels provided from line managers. The study calls attention to the staff nurses needs for greater opportunities for professional development, flexible working practices, involvement in decision making and reward and recognition. Breach and violation of the psychological contract is strongly associated with poor morale, low levels of commitment, higher absenteeism and higher turnover levels. The importance of the interpretation and communication process throughout the employee lifecycle is discussed in the study.

Conclusion: A strong case is presented for utilizing the psychological contract as a framework for understanding the employment relationship and leveraging employee engagement and organisational commitment.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Human Resource Management
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > Industrial Psychology > The Psychological Contract
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2017 13:57
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2017 13:57

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