Nursing casualisation and communication : a critical ethnography

Batch, Mary & Windsor, Carol (2015) Nursing casualisation and communication : a critical ethnography. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 71(4), pp. 870-880.

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The aim was to explore the relationship between nursing casualization and the culture of communication for nurses in a healthcare facility.


Casualization, or non-standard work, is the use of temporary, contract, part-time and casual labour. An increase in casual labour has been part of a global shift in work organization aimed at creating a more flexible and cheaper workforce. It has been argued that flexibility of labour has enabled nurses to manage both non-work related needs and an increasingly complex work environment. Yet no research has explored casualization and how it impacts on the communication culture for nurses in a healthcare facility.


Critical ethnography.


Methods included observation, field notes, formal interviews and focus groups. Data collection was undertaken over the 2 years 2008–2009.


The concepts of knowing and belonging were perceived as important to nursing teamwork and yet the traditional time/task work model, designed for a full-time workforce, marginalized non-standard workers. The combination of medical dominance and traditional stereotyping of the nurse and work as full-time shaped the behaviours of nurses and situated casual workers on the periphery. The overall finding was that entrenched systemic structures and processes shaped the physical and cultural dimensions of a contemporary work environment and contributed to an ineffective communication culture.


Flexible work is an important feature of contemporary nursing. Traditional work models and nurse attitudes and practices have not progressed and are discordant with a contemporary approach to nursing labour management.

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ID Code: 79198
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Casualization, Communication, Nursing, Ethnography, Critical
DOI: 10.1111/jan.12557
ISSN: 1365-2648
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Nursing not elsewhere classified (111099)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution; Non-Commercial; No-Derivatives 4.0 International. DOI:
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2014 23:29
Last Modified: 12 May 2016 02:04

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