Controlling working time on the ward and on the line. / Wise, S.; Smith, C.; Valsecchi, R.; Mueller, F.; Gabe, Jonathan.

In: Employee Relations, Vol. 29, No. 4, 2007, p. 352-366.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Purpose – The purpose of this article is to assess whether tele-nursing in Scotland (NHS24), when compared with traditional face-to-face nursing, facilitates greater employee control over working time and therefore a potentially better work-life balance.

Design/methodology/approach – The article draws on evidence from two independent research projects; a survey of 64 ward nurses and midwives, which involved face-to-face interviews; and a field study of tele-nursing in a large site in Scotland, using interviews and observations of 15 nurse advisors or tele-nurses.

Findings – Three elements of work organisation are central in shaping nurses' working hours and their control over the balance between their work and their home life: the management of working hours; the degree of mutual dependency of nurses within teams; and the nature of patient care.

Research limitations/implications – The two pieces of research reported offer a strong basis for comparative study. However, the two projects were designed independently, though research questions overlapped and one researcher conducted the field work in both settings; there is an imbalance in the number of interviews conducted in each setting; and the nurse advisor interviewees are of the same clinical grade, whereas a variety of grades and clinical areas are represented among the hospital nurse interviewees.

Originality/value – This is the first study of work-life balance amongst tele-nurses. The research demonstrates that call centre work has rationalised, depersonalised and yet enabled more "control" by nurses over their work-life balance, while paradoxically offering less autonomy in their task environment. In conventional work settings professional values make it difficult for nurses to disengage from the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-366
Number of pages14
JournalEmployee Relations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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