1.1 Background of the Study
The contemporary work environment, marked by continuous change and economic instability, places increased demands on employees (Koekemoer and Mostert, 2010). To remain competitive in the 21st century, organizations require their workforce to be emotionally and intellectually committed to their roles (Rothman, 2010). Consequently, employees are finding themselves working longer hours and facing greater work-related pressures.
In recent years, women's participation in the workforce has grown significantly, leading to an escalation in the demands they must meet. Women seek employment not only for economic reasons but also because it provides them with a sense of identity and structure in their lives. Additionally, pursuing opportunities in the labor force helps them attain self-esteem, status, and fosters meaningful relationships with others (Gambles et al., 2007).
Across the globe, women constitute a substantial proportion of the nursing profession (Fukuzaki et al., 2021). Nursing is a vocation that demands unwavering dedication and commitment in terms of time, care, and attention to patients. In Nigeria, nurses on duty are expected to dedicate eight hours during day shifts and twelve hours during night shifts. Simultaneously, they are expected to wholeheartedly fulfill their roles as mothers, caregivers, nurturers, and wives, among other family obligations. According to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) (2013), mothers spend eight hours daily caring for their young children, and they are similarly expected to allocate the same amount of time to their work responsibilities. They must also meet the needs of their husbands at home to the same extent as they do for their employers.
Due to the irregular shifts and the need to work both day and night, nurses often find it challenging to strike a balance between their professional and personal lives. Research on nurses indicates that the struggle to maintain this balance increases the desire to leave their jobs (Brewer et al., 2009; Simon et al., 2004).
Despite the considerable academic and practical interest in the concept, there is no universally accepted definition of work-family balance (Grzywacz and Carlson, 2007). Hill et al. (2001: 49) present a viewpoint, describing it as "the level at which an individual can effectively manage the time-related, emotional, and behavioral requirements arising from both their paid employment and family obligations." In contrast, Greenhouse et al. (2003: 513) delineate it as "the measure to which individuals are evenly immersed in and content with their responsibilities in both their professional and family spheres," while Greenhaus et al. (2006) portray it as "the extent to which an individual's competence and contentment in their work and family roles align with their life priorities."
The field of work-family research has its roots in the theory of role stress, which emphasizes the negative impact of work on family life (Uzma, 2022). The ongoing conflict between work and personal life not only leads to increased stress and fatigue but also poses greater health risks for employees (Kandel, 2022). Balancing work and family responsibilities can be challenging for dual-career couples, as both partners have high levels of commitment and multiple roles to fulfill. It often comes down to deciding which sacrifices each partner is willing to make to manage their family effectively. The strain on a person is particularly profound when their partner falls short of their expectations. Therefore, examining the difficulties faced by dual-career couples in maintaining work-life balance is of utmost importance. As Kandel (2022) aptly puts it, "Your home life suffers if you spend too much time at work, and work suffers if too much time is spent at home."
It is based on this background that this study seeks to explore the challenges that female nurses encounter in achieving work-family balance and the potential implications of these challenges on patient care.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nursing is renowned for its high-stress nature due to the intricate job demands and requirements it entails (Jacobs and Lourens, 2016). Life-changing events such as marriage or the birth of a child are likely to exert a significant influence on nurses in this regard. Furthermore, the challenge of juggling work and home life is exacerbated by the fact that many nurses work shifts that encompass both day and night duties (Fukuzaki et al., 2021).
According to research conducted by Buerhaus et al. (2015), nurses working long hours in clinical settings are at risk of experiencing severe depression and hormonal imbalances. In their efforts to cope with fatigue, stress, and sleepiness, nurses often resort to increased consumption of food, cigarettes, and alcohol (Antunes et al., 2010; Spiegel et al., 2009). Numerous studies have illustrated that nurses frequently commit errors at work, including medication mistakes and needle stick injuries, which can lead to dissatisfied patients (Stimpfel et al., 2012; Kunaviktikul et al., 2015; Trinkoff et al., 2011).
Sparks, Cooper, Fried, and Shirom's (1997) research reveals that both individuals' health and job performance deteriorate when they allocate excessive time to work at the expense of their family life. Comprehending the specific challenges that female nurses encounter in balancing their work and family responsibilities is essential for the well-being of nurses themselves and the overall quality of patient care they deliver
1.3 Aim of the Study
The aim of this study is to examine the challenges of work-family balance among female nurses and to investigate the potential implications of these challenges on patient care.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of this study are as follows:
- To identify the key challenges female nurses face in achieving work-family balance.
- To examine the potential consequences of work-family balance challenges on patient care.
1.5 Research Questions
This study will address the following research questions:
- What are the primary challenges faced by female nurses in achieving work-family balance?
- What potential implications do work-family balance challenges have on patient care?
1.6 Research Hypothesis
The study will be guided by the following hypothesis:
H0: There is no significant relationship between work-family balance challenges among female nurses and the quality of patient care.
Ha: There is a significant relationship between work-family balance challenges among female nurses and the quality of patient care.
1.7 Justification of the Study
This study is significant for several reasons. Firstly, the nursing profession is a critical component of healthcare, and the well-being of nurses directly impacts the quality of patient care. Secondly, as the majority of nurses are women, understanding their unique work-family balance challenges is essential for improving overall healthcare outcomes. Additionally, this study can contribute valuable insights into developing policies and interventions to support female nurses in balancing their professional and family roles.
1.8 Scope of the Study
This research will focus on female nurses working in selected healthcare settings within a Nigeria. The study will explore the challenges they face in balancing their work and family responsibilities and examine the potential effects of these challenges on patient care within this specific context. Data will be collected through surveys. The study's findings and recommendations could be applicable to similar healthcare settings and can serve as a basis for further research in this area.