Nurses’ experiences of working in organizations undergoing restructuring: A metasynthesis of qualitative research studies

Dorthe Sørensen, Anne Sofie Bøtcher Jensen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Background: Health care organizations worldwide undergo continual reconfiguration and structural
    changes in order to optimize the use of resources, reduce costs, and improve the quality of treatment.
    Objective: The objective of this study was to synthesize qualitative studies of how nurses experience
    working in organizations undergoing structural changes.
    Design: The review is designed as a metasynthesis and follows the guidelines put forth by Sandelowski
    and Barroso for synthesizing qualitative research.
    Data sources: From January to April 2015, literature searches were conducted in the CINAHL, PubMed,
    ProQuest, and Web of Science databases for the period from 1994 to 2014.
    Review methods: A total of 762 articles were found and screened, 12 of which were included in the review
    after being appraised using a specially designed reading guide. The inclusion criteria were qualitative
    studies in English, German, Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish on nurses’ experiences with being employed
    in organizations undergoing structural changes. The data were then analyzed in a metasummary and
    Results: Four overall categories that illustrate how nurses experience working in organizations
    undergoing structural changes were identified: nursing management, emotional responses, nursing
    work, and colleagues. Generally, nurses seemed to describe their experiences working in organizations
    undergoing structural changes in a negative way, as all of the included articles reported that nurses
    experience an increased workload due to restructuring. However, some of the articles reported that
    nurses also experience a certain joy associated with the nursing work despite the negative consequences
    of the structural changes.
    Conclusions: The
    findings can be seen as a paradox because former research has shown that an increased
    workload reduces the pleasure in working. Further research on this topic is needed to ensure a better
    working environment for nurses.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
    Pages (from-to)7–14
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • management, organizational development and innovation

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