Part-Time Versus Full-Time Work: The Case of Nurses in Spain

24 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2013

Date Written: February 19, 2013


Nursing has been described as a stressful occupation with nursing staff reporting high levels of job dissatisfaction in many countries. For various reasons an interesting paradox exists; on the one hand there is a global shortage of nurses which has potential adverse effects on nursing staff job satisfaction and the quality of patient care. On the other hand, many nurses opt for working on a part time basis, which adds to the shortage issue. Some nursing staff have opted to work part-time by choice or out of necessity while some full-time nursing staff would prefer to work part-time. This research explores antecedents and factors related to the decisions of nursing staff to work part time with the intention of identifying reasons that might be addressed and result in their choosing to work full-time and reduce nursing shortages. Data were collected from 2094 nurses in Spain using anonymously completed questionnaires, of which 290 indicated they were currently working part-time. Respondents indicated how important a role in their decision to work part time was played by each of the items. Most common reasons for working part time were: caring for others, personal health issues, losing a full-time job, staying active in the profession, and exploring a new career or occupation. Factor analysis of 15 items yielded Part-time versus full-time work: The case of nurses in Spain 4 a five-factor solution: job loss, career and income benefits, personal needs (caring for others, health issues), exploring new career options, and the unavailability full-time jobs. Full-time and part-time nursing staff were then compared on a number of personal demographic and work situation characteristics, job demands, sources of support, work outcomes and indicators of psychological well-being. Generally, part-time nursing staff was younger, had fewer years of nursing-related tenure, fewer job resources, and indicated lower levels of job involvement, affective commitment and work engagement. Part time and full-time nurses were similar on levels of work and extra-work social support, burnout, psychological well-being and accident propensity. Efforts to encourage and support the transition of part-time nursing staff to full-time nursing staff are offered.

Keywords: nurses retention, nurses employment, nursing shortages

JEL Classification: J22, J28

Suggested Citation

Burke, Ronald John and Dolan, Simon L. and Fiksenbaum, Lisa, Part-Time Versus Full-Time Work: The Case of Nurses in Spain (February 19, 2013). ESADE Business School Research Paper No. 241. Available at SSRN: or

Ronald John Burke

York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

Simon L. Dolan (Contact Author)

ESADE Business School ( email )

Av. de Pedralbes 60-62
Barcelona, 08034
934952052 (Phone)


Lisa Fiksenbaum

York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

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