Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Department of Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Gregory S. Larson

Commitee Members

Christina Yoshimura, Kathy Kuipers


balance, identification, identity, multiple identities, nurses, nursing, qualitative, work-family


University of Montana


The ways in which people manage organizational, professional, and familial identities can have significant implications for work-family balance. This is particularly true for nurses, who have a strong sense of professional identity and may be likely to experience work-family tensions. By framing work-family tensions as related to identity, we can see the ways in which being a “good” employee, a “good” nurse, and a “good” family member are both complementary and contradictory. This study highlights ways in which being “good” employee facilitates and hinders an individual’s ability to be a “good” nurse. Furthermore, it demonstrates how being a “good” nurse can complement and contrast what it means to be a “good” family member. Furthermore, this study reveals the importance of one’s peer group in the construction of identity. This study offers several theoretical implications pertinent to the field of organizational communication as well as practical implications for health service organizations. Among other things, this study provides empirical evidence that reinforces the communication-identity relationship. Furthermore, it reveals ways in which the boundaries between identities are often blurred. It also presents practical implications for reducing burnout and volunteer turnover in nurses. In particular, it suggests ways in which organizations and nursing educators can work with organizational, professional, and familial identities to create policies and practices that improve work-family balance.



© Copyright 2007 Claire Marie Spanier