9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN16 Sociology of Health and Illness

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 Embodiment, Emotions and Health II Building I, 1E2

Professional vulnerability and analysis of the well-being in the nursing profession in Belgium

Since the beginning of the 80?s, the health care?s modernisation took up a predominant place in the reforms carried out in Belgium. These current transformations are characterized by a rationalisation?s will of the material and management (De Troyer, 2000; Durant, 2006). The technological progress, the emergence of new pathologies, the demographic evolution and the budget cost-containment contributed to a structures? revitalization, a healthcare?s area organisation and thoroughly new management methods coming from the industrial field.

These managerial changes lead to redefine the nursing profession. The transformations of the working conditions weaken the subjects and produce vulnerabilities at work. Even if the nurse profession in Belgium is characterized by a relative employment security, professional vulnerability is not absent of working conditions.

Cross-sectional self-report survey data collected in a large sample of Belgian nurses were analysed. Indeed, based on the European NEXT-study (Nurses? early exit survey), where close to 4300 nurses have been surveyed in Belgium, this communication will attempt to underline the existing relationship between nurses? vulnerabilities in their work conditions and their intent to leave their present employment or their profession. Therefore, different vulnerability?s indicators will be analysed: financial conditions, professional competences? recognition, relationship with hierarchy, relationship with colleagues, the meaning given to the work, stress, professional autonomy and work intensification. These indicators come partially from the Paugam?s theory which job insecurity is defined through two dimensions: the ?employment? axis and the ?work? axis. If the professional vulnerability can not be analysed through the job insecurity for the nurses? future, it is though really present inside the nurse practice, in the work axis. (Paugam, 2000).

This communication will show how much the current changes in the nurse profession in Belgium encourage some of them to leave definitely their profession in order to start a different career. These professional transformations are partly due to the importance given to the work well-being and to the professional recognition. Results will be presented at the time of the conference.