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'The Tender Trap': Gender, Part-Time Nursing and the Effects of 'Family-Friendly' Policies on Career Advancement

With the Government promoting flexible and ‘family-friendly’ policies within the NHS, an increase in the number of part-time nurses is imminent, particularly in view of current pro-active recruitment drives in this area. Research, however, indicates that it is mainly female employees who continue to utilise such policies with few male nurses employed on a part-time or flexible basis. Working part-time and taking career breaks, usually because of caring commitments, results in female nurses falling behind male colleagues in terms of career development and promotion prospects, with managers selecting males over females (particularly those who work part-time) regarding functional role allocation in the hospital setting. Based on a recent study of full-time and part-time nurses and their managers in three Outer London NHS Trusts, this paper argues that so-called ‘family-friendly’ policies must target both sexes and that the underlying attitudes of men to childcare and the domestic division of labour must change before the sexes can compete on equal terms in the workplace. Until this happens men will continue to advance the development of their nursing careers more rapidly than women. Already, in a female-dominated area of employment, male nurses form a disproportionate percentage of those in higher grades and management posts.

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Additional Titles
Sociology of Health and Illness

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Type of Reference
0141-9889, 0141-9889
Resource Database
Applied social sciences index & abstracts (assia)
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