A1 Journal article (refereed)
Intensified job demands, stress of conscience and nurses' experiences during organizational change (2022)

Heikkilä, M., Huhtala, M., Mauno, S., & Feldt, T. (2022). Intensified job demands, stress of conscience and nurses' experiences during organizational change. Nursing Ethics, 29(1), 217-230. https://doi.org/10.1177/09697330211006831

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Heikkilä, Mikko; Huhtala, Mari; Mauno, Saija; Feldt, Taru

Journal or series: Nursing Ethics

ISSN: 0969-7330

eISSN: 1477-0989

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 10/08/2021

Volume: 29

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 217-230

Publisher: SAGE Publications

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/09697330211006831

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77324


Nurses frequently face ethically demanding situations in their work, and these may lead to stress of conscience. Working life is currently accelerating and job demands are intensifying. These intensified job demands include (1) work intensification, (2) intensified job-related planning demands, (3) intensified career-related planning demands, and (4) intensified learning demands. At the same time, many healthcare organizations are implementing major organizational changes that have an influence on personnel.

The aim of the study was to investigate the association between intensified job demands and stress of conscience, and whether their association is moderated by organizational change experiences among nurses. Experiences of organizational change may expose employees to stress of conscience or serve as a buffer because employees appraise, involve, and cope with changes differently.

Research design:
Questionnaires measuring stress of conscience, intensified job demands, and organizational change experiences were completed by nurses (n = 511) in a healthcare district undergoing a major organizational change.

Ethical considerations:
Throughout, the study procedures were implemented according to the guidelines of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity and the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. According to the Finnish regulations, because participation was voluntary, informed consent was requested, and participants were advised of their right to withdraw from the study at will. No permission from an ethics committee was necessary.

Work intensification and personal worry considering organizational change were associated with more severe stress of conscience among nurses. Nurses’ experiences of managements’ competent handling of organizational change buffered the association between work intensification and stress of conscience.

During organizational changes, management may alleviate nurses’ stress of conscience by proper communication and support procedures.

Keywords: nurses; nursing staff; public health service; stress (biological phenomena); organisational changes; demands; objectives; improving efficiency; experiences (knowledge); values (conceptions); ethics; nursing ethics; conscience; leadership (activity); working life

Free keywords: healthcare; intensified job demands; nurses; organizational change; stress of conscience; work intensification

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Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 11:47