Workforce risks and opportunities: Working time practices in nursing and midwifery

Workforce risks and opportunities: Working time practices in nursing and midwifery

A CfWI report in collaboration with the University of Manchester to provide managers and workforce planners with evidence to inform their choices when addressing workforce challenges.

This briefing paper considers some key workforce risks, opportunities, monitoring, and research needs related to working time practices in nursing and midwifery.

Implications for workforce planners and HR managers in the NHS include the following:

  • Longstanding workforce organisation issues around part-time and other flexible forms of working continue to be important to recruitment, retention, and career advancement within the nursing and midwifery workforce.
  • Despite these persistent challenges, there is a risk that the current economic climate will reduce the impetus for work-life balance policies.
  • The nursing and midwifery labour force remains predominantly female and issues around combining paid work and parenthood persist.
  • Assumptions regarding work-life balance being a ‘motherhood issue’ or something confined to the primary carers of children should be challenged. A greater focus on work-life balance among both older women and men, for example, could help utilise the skills and experience of people seeking a gradual transition into retirement, or encourage workforce re-entry.
  • Workforce redesign is increasing in its prominence as an issue in other areas of the NHS. The increased feminisation of the medical workforce may provide new opportunities to modernise work organisation around interdependencies between medical and nursing roles.

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