Nursing professionalization and welfare state policies: A critical review of structural factors influencing the development of nursing and the nursing workforce

Virginia Gunn, Carles Muntaner, Michael Villeneuve, Haejoo Chung, Montserrat Gea-Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nursing professionalization is both ongoing and global, being significant not only for the nursing workforce but also for patients and healthcare systems. For this reason, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of this process and the factors that could affect it. This literature review utilizes a welfare state approach to examine macrolevel structural determinants of nursing professionalization, addressing a previously identified gap in this literature, and synthesizes research on the relevance of studying nursing professionalization. The use of a welfare state framework facilitates the understanding that the wider social, economic, and political system exercises significant power over the distribution of resources in a society, providing a glimpse into the complex politics of health and health care. The findings shed light on structural factors outside of nursing, such as country-level education, health, labor market, and gender policies that could impact the process of professionalization and thus could be utilized to strengthen nursing through facilitating increased professionalization levels. Addressing gender inequalities and other structural determinants of nursing professionalization could contribute to achieving health equity and could benefit health systems through enhanced availability, skill-level, and sustainability of nursing human resources, improved and efficient access to care, improved patient outcomes, and cost savings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNursing Inquiry
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Jan 1

Keywords

  • critical review
  • gender inequalities
  • health equity
  • nursing human resources
  • nursing professionalization
  • patient and health system outcomes
  • politics of health
  • welfare state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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