Playful Work Design in the Nursing Workforce

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This study aims to gain more insight into the applicability of playful work design (PWD) in the nursing workforce. Furthermore, the influence of PWD on the nurses was also investigated. PWD entails an employee’s proactive behaviour during one’s work by designing fun and competition, without changing the job itself. It was found that the current nursing workforce faces issues regarding high workloads, agency, and goal achievement. In the literature, it was posed that PWD might be a solution to this problem. Nonetheless, literature showed that PWD has not yet been applied in the nursing workforce. Which means that the applicability of PWD and its influence are currently unknown. In order to investigate the latter, ten interviews with nurses with different professional backgrounds have been conducted and were analysed. After the analysis, four main themes were discovered. These themes are the influence, applicability, emotions and response, and expression regarding PWD. It was found that PWD’s applicability conflicts: designing fun is easier to execute in comparison with designing competition and can thus be applied easier. Designing competition feels as an extra task the nurses have to execute and is more difficult to apply, hence it was found that it is not applicable. On the other hand, the nurses evaluated the influence of both dimensions generally positive and mentioned that PWD add value and feel rewarding. However, it is worth mentioning that the influence of designing fun depends on the type of nurse and patient. Furthermore, the influence of designing competition was deemed as positive when the nurses noted that it worked. Lastly, this study contributes to knowledge by offering a qualitative study on PWD and the nursing workforce, which captures the emotions and responses of the nurses in an exceptional manner. Moreover, this study can aid management in healthcare institutions to make PWD more prominent by offering trainings and interventions. By doing so, nurses can become more aware of PWD and can use it in the correct manner.
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