• The impact of gender perceptions and professional values on women’s careers in nursing.

      McIntosh, Bryan; McQuaid, R.; Munro, A. (2015)
      Purpose - Within nursing, there appear to be two enduring sets of assumptions: firstly, that woman with children should prioritise the care of children; and secondly, that nursing standards require nurses to put their profession above other priorities. Commitment is linked to full-time working this contrasts sharply with the reality for many women with children who need to work part-time and are not able to change or extend working hours. Design/methodology/approach - This qualitative research involved the use of 32 in-depth interviews with thirty-two female registered nurses with children and without children. They were employed in ‘acute’ nursing where aged between 25 to 60 years old and employed in registered grades ‘D’ to ‘senior nurse manager’. They worked or had worked on a variety of employment conditions, some, but not all, had taken career breaks. The rationale for exclusively selecting women was based on the need to identify and describe organisational, situational, and individual factors related to women and the associations and barriers which affect their careers. Findings - In a female dominated profession, we find the profession resisting attempts to make the profession more accessible to women with young children. The career progression of women with children is inhibited and this is driven in part by a determination to maintain ‘traditional’ employment practices. Originality/value – This paper develops Heilman's argument that the restructuring of employment has lead to work intensification which stokes gender tensions. These findings are relevant across many areas of employment and they are significant in relation to broadening the debate around equal opportunities for women.