The Return-To-Work Coordinator Role: Qualitative Insights for Nursing
- 467 Downloads
Introduction Few studies have examined the role of RTW Coordination from the perspective of RTW Coordinator’s. Furthermore there is little health specific literature on returning injured nurses to work despite the critical workforce shortages of these professionals. The study aimed to examine barriers and facilitators identified by the RTW Coordinator to returning injured nurses to work and influences on specific health sector or geographic location. The study sought to gain insights into the professional backgrounds and everyday work practices of RTW Coordinators. Method Five focus groups were conducted in metropolitan and rural areas of NSW, Australia. Twenty-five RTW Coordinators from 14 different organisations participated in the study. The focus groups included participants representing different health sectors (aged, disability, public and private hospital and community health). Results The data analysis identified information pertaining to the qualifications and backgrounds of RTW Coordinators; the role of RTW Coordinators’ within organisational structures; a range of technical knowledge and personal qualities for RTW Coordination and important elements of the case management style used to facilitate RTW. Conclusions The findings identified a wide range of professional backgrounds that RTW Coordinators bring to the role and the impact of organisational structures on the ability to effectively undertake RTW responsibilities. The study found that interpersonal skills of RTW Coordinators may be more important to facilitate RTW than a healthcare background. A collaborative case management style was also highlighted and the difficulties associated with juggling conflicts of interest, multiple organisational roles and the emotional impact of the work.
KeywordsWorkplace based return to work RTW coordinators Health sector Qualitative
This research was funded under the WorkCover NSW WorkCover Assist Program. The research conclusions are those of the authors and any views expressed are not necessarily those of WorkCover NSW.
Conflicts of interests
The authors were employees of the University of Newcastle during the conduct of this study. These authors and organisation have no financial interests that may be affected by the content of the manuscript.
- 1.Nelson A, Fragala G, Mensel N. Myths and facts about back injuries in nursing. Am J Nurs. 2003;103:32–40.Google Scholar
- 4.Senate Community Affairs References Committee: The patient profession: time for action: report on the inquiry into nursing (2002) [cited 29/04/2009; Available from: http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/Committee/clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2002-04/nursing/report/index.htm.
- 9.Foreman P, Murphy G, Swerissen H. Barriers and facilitators to return to work: a literature review. Melbourne: Australian Insitute for Primary Care, La Trobe University; 2006.Google Scholar
- 12.WorkCover NSW. Guidelines for return to work programs. Sydney: WorkCover NSW; 2010.Google Scholar
- 15.Merriam SB. Qualitative research: a guide to design and implementation. San Francisco: Wiley Press; 2009.Google Scholar
- 16.Australian Bureau of Statistics: Census geography paper 03/01 ASGC remoteness classification—purpose and use (2001) [cited July 2008]; Available from: www.abs.gov.au/…/f9c96fb635cce780ca256d420005dc02!OpenDocument -.
- 17.Fern E. Advanced focus group research. London: Sage; 2001.Google Scholar
- 18.Kvale S. Interviews: an introduction to qualitative research interviewing. London: Sage; 1996.Google Scholar
- 19.QSRInternational. NVivo 7.0. Doncaster, Victoria:QSR International (2007).Google Scholar
- 20.Erickson F, editor. Qualitative methods in research on teaching. New York: Macmillan; 1986.Google Scholar
- 21.WorkCover NSW. Guidelines for employers, return to work programs. Sydney: WorkCover NSW; 2003.Google Scholar
- 23.Institute for Work & Health. Seven ‘principals’ for successful return to work. March 2007 [cited 31/03/2009; Available from: http://www.iwh.on.ca/seven-principles-for-rtw.
- 25.Roberts-Yates C. Examining the role of rehabilitation in the South Australian workers compensation system. Aust J Rehabil Couns. 2003;9(2):82–101.Google Scholar
- 26.Kenny D. Barriers to return to work in New South Wales: research findings and theoretical considerations. Sydney: WorkCover NSW; 1995.Google Scholar
- 27.Langford E. Buried but not dead: a survey of occupational illness and injury incurred by nurses in the Victorian health service industry. The Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch); 1997.Google Scholar
- 28.Case Management Society of America: What is a case manager and how do I find one? (2009) [cited 2009 18 August]; Available from: http:www.cmsa.org/Consumer/tabid/61/Default.aspx.
- 33.Roberts-Yates C. The Dilemma of the case manager in workers’ compensation : decision-maker, system player, para legal/medical specialist, mediator or enermy? Aust J Rehabil Couns. 2002; 8(2); 99–113.Google Scholar
- 34.Hochschild A. The managed heart: commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley: University of California Press; 1983.Google Scholar
- 40.Higgs J. Communicating in the health sciences. 2nd ed. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press; 2008.Google Scholar
- 41.Kenny D. Case management in occupational rehabilitation: would the real case manager please stand up? Aust J Rehabil Couns. 1995;1(2):104–17.Google Scholar