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J Clin Nurs. 2005 Sep;14(8B):90-7.

The meaning of work for nursing assistants who stay in long-term care.

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1
UC Foundation Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN 37343, USA. janet-secrest@utc.edu

Abstract

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the meaning of work for nursing assistants who stay in long-term care.

BACKGROUND:

Nursing assistants are important caregivers in long-term agencies. While studies have examined why nursing assistants leave, their motivation to stay has not been well studied.

DESIGN:

An existential-phenomenological study was conducted using Pollio's approach.

METHODS:

In-depth interviews were conducted with 11 nursing assistants in four nursing homes. Interviews were analysed within the context of an interpretive research group. Findings were represented in a diagram of interrelated figural/ground themes.

CONCLUSIONS:

The meaning of work emerged as an experience of family, pride and control, in spite of an environment fraught with hostility, disrespect and lack of control.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE:

Nursing assistants provide most of the care to residents of long-term facilities. Understanding their perspective offers insight into nursing administrators in creating environments in which safe, compassionate and cost-effective care co-exist. Implications for clinical practice are framed within King's theory of goal attainment.

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