Paper Example on Dynamics of Work-Family Balance and Inequalities in Healthcare Systems

Published: 2023-11-15
Paper Example on Dynamics of Work-Family Balance and Inequalities in Healthcare Systems
Essay type:  Compare and contrast
Categories:  Health and Social Care Healthcare policy Comparative literature
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1562 words
14 min read

The chosen topic for discussion in this essay is the field of healthcare systems. The essay entails an analysis of the dynamics of work-family balance and inequalities in the field of healthcare systems. A healthcare system entails an approach of financing, organizing, and delivering health care services to people. The aspects of access, resources, and expenses are critical in understanding the healthcare system's implementation in a given country. The goal of any healthcare system is to improve people's health in a manner that is most efficient when considering the available resources and competing needs in society. Access and efficient delivery of healthcare is essential in pursuing fundamental human rights in all countries. Therefore, an effective healthcare system should address the commonly held values in society. Specific areas that are impacted by the healthcare system used in a given nation are work-life balance and inequalities that exist. It shows that any healthcare system impacts the healthcare workers' work-life and causes inequalities experienced by people in various dimensions. Exploring the subject of the dynamics of work-life balance and inequalities that exist is essential to learn about the impact of healthcare systems adopted in various countries of the world. The essay will explore the operation of healthcare systems in the United States and other countries, Europe, and Malaysia. The aim is to establish the dynamics of work-life balance and inequalities that exist in these nations.

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Dynamics of Work-Family Balance in Healthcare Systems

Work-family balance is a construct that helps in understanding work and non-work life. Work-life balance is considered a broader construct that explains work-family balance. Work-family balance explains the magnitude of balancing the domains of work and family (Joseph & Sebastian, 2017). The role balance theory proposed by Marks and MacDermid (1996) argued that people with more stable role systems tend to report strained roles, greater well-being, and role-specific experience that is more positive when compared to individuals with strained responsibilities at work. A person's ability to have a definite role balance guarantees that capacity to engage in work and family life without much straining fully. Having a work-family balance enables people to undertake their responsibilities with attentiveness and care—negative role balance impacts the engagement and performance at work and in the family. Apathy and cynicism dominate the approach to work and family roles. In any sector, the policies should support work-family balance to improve employee well-being, commitment to the work, and achievement of job satisfaction (Haar, 2013).

In healthcare systems, work-family balance is an aspect that has affected the performance of employees in many ways. Healthcare workers experience personal conflicts when they cannot achieve a balance between their jobs and family life. Such a conflict is described as interfering with work and family responsibilities in a manner that creates tension and problems for a person’s life. It is encouraged for institutions to provide policies that enhance work-family balance for employee well-being as an approach of promoting personal and firm performance (Haar, 2013).

The U.S.

In the U.S., work-family balance is a challenge for many healthcare workers. Dissatisfaction with work and family roles continue to increase for many of the workers in the healthcare settings. According to Schwartz et al. (2019), workers in large healthcare systems in America experience challenges in work-family balance. A work-life climate that is favorable guarantees an employee work-family balance and better performance in the organization. The position and specialty of a person in the healthcare workforce determine their capacity to balance work and family effectively. Work-family balance is associated with better safety culture norms in the workplace and the household. It is determined by the role and work setting. A work environment that provides an employee with consistency within a job and home helps in balancing work and family roles compared to a work environment where a health worker must switch between work settings. How individuals in the healthcare settings respond to work-family balance depends on a person's behavior. However, many workers tend to respond in similar ways to challenges of work and family balance.

The findings of Schwartz et al. (2019) are supported by other previous researchers whereby work-family balance in the healthcare system is determined by the ability of a person to maintain the proper separation between family life and work. When there is an infraction of a personal boundary between work and family life, then it becomes difficult for such an individual to maintain the aspects of work-family balance (Sexton et al., 2017). Work-family balance for U.S. health workers provides a positive climate that enhances teamwork, safety, and increased employee participation in their duties. The employee role, work setting, and health organization vary significantly with the level of work-family balance. The culture constructs of the health organization correlate positively with the clinical outcomes of the employee.

Work-family balance in healthcare systems relates to the cultural safety adopted in the institutions. A work environment that causes an inability for work-family balance leads to personal burnout—an individual experiences emotional exhaustion in the work setting and the family. Burnout negatively impacts the patients, the personal health of the employees, and their family (Shanafelt et al., 2015). Health workers who cannot maintain a work-family balance have a low perception of safety culture, higher medical errors, and low-quality care (Profit et al., 2014). The professional culture of providers is essential in balancing work and family roles. The inability to pursue a work-family balance for a healthcare worker is a safety risk for patients. Where work-family life balance policies are weak in an organization, an employee will perform most mediocre.

Sexton et al. (2017) found that physicians are the most reported to have the weakest balance between work and family among the other healthcare workers. However, those in training have an excellent work-family balance compared to those who have completed their education. The need to balance between personal and career lives at every stage affects a physician's ability to deliver to patients. The decision to reduce working hours, change practices, and leave the medical field leads to dangerous effects on the affordability and availability of medical care (Shanafelt et al., 2014).


In European countries, the situation of work-family balance is similar to that of the U.S. Many of the workers in the health settings experiencing negative psychological working situations, including poor work-family life balance, job strain, and an imbalance between effort and reward (Lunau et al., 2014). Ineffective work-family balance results in low poor health. Employees with poor work-family balance report more health challenges, including poor well-being and low self-rated health. The effects are equal for both men and women workers in the healthcare sector. Working hours, time regulations, and welfare state regimes explain the deviations of work-family balance among healthcare workers in European countries.

Borgmann (2019) noted that working mothers are many and increasing in numbers, and that has increased the conflict between work and family roles. Work-family balance for working mothers in the health sector in European countries is a challenge. The populations experience work-family conflict on health for working parents. There exist health-related outcomes for both men and women health workforce in European nations. Conflicts occur among parents due to poor work-family balance and are increased by mental, physical, and self-rated health. Controversies exist on gender-specific health results from work-family imbalances. More research needs to be done on work-family conflicts that may exist due to health-related factors for working parents in Europe. Family policies within the European region should be considered when doing further research on the subject.


Work-family balance in Malaysia is well revealed through the research on the behaviors of nurses working in public hospitals. Similar results to those of the European countries were revealed in the Malaysian context. Factors such as professional status and work experience determine the commitment of healthcare workers in Malaysia (Lee et al., 2011). The working culture determines the workers' capacity to commit, uphold the organization's values, teamwork, and community orientation. Mohamed and Mohamad (2012) noted that the quality of work for nurses determines the proper balance of work and family roles. Many of the women nurses leave work due to pressures of meeting work demand, and that explains the present shortage of nurses in the healthcare sector in Malaysia. Work-family life balance is a strategy that public hospitals in Malaysia must promote if more nurses will be retained in the organizations. A conducive work environment should be provided to promote participatory decision-making for healthcare workers in hospitals. The chance for career development and the creation of work-family belonging among workers in public hospitals should be promoted to reduce nurse turnover. Work scheduling practices by the management should be made voluntary to enable nurse employees to attain a balance between work and family roles. When nurses have control over their working hours, it becomes easy to manage their work and family duties (Mohamed & Mohamad, 2012). That helps them to be committed to their work and improvement of performance in caring for patients.

Besides a conducive environment, social support is critical for health workers in Malaysia to maintain a healthy work-family balance. According to Rashid et al. (2012), social support for health workers promotes work-family balance and life satisfaction among nurses in Malaysia. Social support for nurses improves their job satisfaction and improves well-being as well as work-family enrichment. A person with higher work-family balance has a likeliness of experiencing higher levels of job satisfaction that promotes a positive attitude towards work and family (Rashid et al., 2012).

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