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HERD. 2016 Apr;9(3):82-105. doi: 10.1177/1937586715613586. Epub 2015 Nov 17.

Identifying Challenging Job and Environmental Demands of Older Nurses Within the National Health Service.

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University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.



To explore the existing theoretical contexts of the job and environmental demands of the nursing profession in the National Health Service (NHS) and to investigate how these job and environmental demands impact on the personal constructs of older nurses within the NHS.


Nursing is the single most widely practiced profession in the healthcare sector in the United Kingdom. However, nurses contend with challenging job and environmental demands on a daily basis, which deplete them of personal constructs (or resources) required to stay in the profession.


A multilevel exploratory qualitative research design was employed. Ten managers were interviewed for the preliminary study, based on which the three characteristics of an age-friendly NHS workplace were established: health, retirement, and flexibility. Then an in-depth literature review revealed that the most adversely affected job within the NHS was the nursing profession. Finally, a focus group study was undertaken with six older nurses working in the NHS.


The most compelling finding of this study is that older nurses would generally not want to stay on the job if they had to work in the ward area. The physical, cognitive, and sensory constructs of older nurses are negatively affected by the job and environmental demands of the ward areas.


Understanding how these job and environmental demands of the workplace affect an older nurse's personal constructs may help support a better design of nurse work and the wards and help extend the working lives of older nurses in the NHS.


NHS; environmental demands; health and well-being; job demands; older nurses

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