Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 8(3) May 2005 : 69-77.doi:10.12927/hcq..17157
Nursing Issues

Full-Time or Part-Time Work in Nursing: Preferences, Tradeoffs and Choices

Jennifer Blythe, Andrea Baumann, Isik Zeytinoglu, Margaret Denton and Ann Higgins


Nursing human resources are limited; thus, effective deployment of personnel is essential to optimize staff capacity. The nursing profession competes for staff in environments where human capital is at a premium (Baumann and Blythe 2003). To maximize recruitment and retention, it is imperative that nurses' work preferences are taken into account.

This paper reviews historical trends in full-time and parttime work in the general workforce and among nurses in particular. Further, it describes changes in hospital staffing strategies and discusses the literature on nurses' preferences for full-time, part-time and casual work status. The findings from a study of nurses in three teaching hospitals in Ontario are described, including hospital staffing practices and nurses' preferences for specific work statuses. The strategies adopted by nurses who were unable to find work that matched their preferences are also examined. The paper concludes by considering the implications of the findings for policymakers.



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