Experiences managing pregnant hospital staff members using an active management policy: A qualitative study

Mette G. Backhausen*, Mette Langeland Iversen, Margrethe Bordado Skold, Thora G. Thomsen, Luise Moellenberg Begtrup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Background and objective During pregnancy, absence from work increases significantly. Job adjustments have been shown to decrease absences; however, studies show only half of pregnant women who need job adjustments receive them. Little is known about the viewpoints of managers and possible challenges in the management of pregnant employees. The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences and considerations of managers in relation to managing pregnant hospital staff members and to describe the experiences of an active management policy for pregnant individuals. Methods A qualitative study based on five focus group interviews was conducted at five public hospitals in Zealand, Denmark with participation of 19 hospital managers, from 17 different wards, representing six different medical specialties. The interviews took place from February to May 2019. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Results Four themes were identified: (1) The everyday management, (2) Managerial dilemmas, (3) Acknowledging the workplace culture, and (4) Dialogue as a means for the working relationship. The managers' experiences revolved around investing a lot of effort into the working relationship with pregnant staff members by adjusting job tasks and work schedules while balancing work tasks between all staff members. The dialogue was considered central in order to identify the needs of the individual staff member. Conclusions Overall, management dialogue constituted a central tool in order to identify the needs of the individual staff member. A proactive and open approach increased the chances of a fruitful dialogue. The individual staff member, the influence of the workplace culture, and the everyday management of the workplace all shaped the experiences of the managers. The concept of an active management policy for pregnant individuals was perceived to entail useful elements, but also as replicating what managers already did.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0247547
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume16
Issue number2
Number of pages14
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26. Feb 2021

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