Objective: This research study was conducted to contrast workplace socialization of nurses working flexible (flex) and traditional schedules in an acute care setting. The study illustrates the types of social networks used by both types of nurses in a reengineered healthcare environment.
Summary background data: Reengineering strategies, such as flex nurse staffing, add a new dimension to workplace change and adaptation. Few studies have examined the similarities and differences between nurses working flex and traditional schedules. The research literature shows that workplace socialization significantly affects job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and retention. No studies have examined how the process of socialization--forming social networks--differs for nurses working traditional or flex schedules.
Methods and subjects: A convenience sample of 120 nurses working traditional schedules and 46 nurses working flex schedules from a pediatric, tertiary care setting completed the Social Network Questionnaire (SNQ), a standardized instrument that records individuals' social network composition and function.
Results: No significant differences were found in the nurses' social network composition. Both types of nurses constructed peer-based networks and nurse managers were also present in their networks. Nurses working traditional schedules used significantly more peer members for different types of emotional support, such as reassurance and handling emotional upsets.
Conclusions: Workplace networks are important to both types of nurses. Nurses on flex schedules may form less social attachments in order to manage the increased demands of moving among multiple units. This group of nurses can provide clues for adaptive change in reengineered environments.