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Task Conflicts and Exclusive Professionalism in Nursing in South Korea

Jung, Minsoo PhD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/01.HCM.0000440620.62385.7f

Task conflicts among medical professions are essential problems to be solved in health care organizations. This study examined job conflicts between practical nurses (PNs) and registered nurses (RNs) in their duties and tasks with representative panelists from South Korea. This qualitative study used the Dacum Task Analysis process. Subject-matter experts in practical nursing were recruited utilizing stratified sampling: Ten experts developed job descriptions of PNs, and 20 validated the descriptions. The on-site tasks and duties of the PNs were measured by means of Dacum, and the results were reviewed by RNs using 3 focus-group interviews. The job description of PNs consisted of 10 duties and 117 tasks, overlapping with some tasks of RNs. Core tasks performed by PNs, such as invasive activities, led to task conflicts between the 2 groups, as these activities were regarded as the inherent duty of nursing professions. Thus, the RNs did not concede the expanded job scope of the PNs in terms of exclusive professionalism. To reduce task conflict, there is a need for the balanced development of nursing professionalism.

Author Affiliation: Department of Health Science, Dongduk Women’s University, Seoul, Republic of Korea; and Center for Community-Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.

The author reports no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Minsoo Jung, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Science, Dongduk Women’s University, 60 Hwarang-ro 13-gil, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea 136-714 (

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins