Survey Of 76,000 Nurses Probes Elements Of Job Satisfaction
By American Nurses Association
Apr 6, 2005, 16:56

In one of the largest samples of its kind exploring various components of job satisfaction among registered nurses (RNs), conducted through an American Nurses Association (ANA) survey, respondents as a total group report being highly satisfied with regard to interactions with other RNs, their professional status, and professional development opportunities.

The RN Satisfaction Report, conducted through ANA's National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI), revealed moderate levels of satisfaction regarding all other aspects of respondents' jobs, including nursing management, nursing administration, interactions with doctors, and their own level of autonomy. RNs as a total group reported the lowest satisfaction with decision-making, tasks and pay. And in some unit categories - including emergency departments, peri-operative services, and critical care - RNs reported low satisfaction with pay.

Levels of job satisfaction for each category varied, depending on the type of unit in which the nurses worked. For example, maternal-newborn and pediatric RNs reported the highest levels of overall job enjoyment, whereas their counterparts working in medical-surgical, step-down and emergency room departments reported the lowest.

The RN Satisfaction Report was based on input from 76,000 RNs from hospitals across the country. The survey was divided into several sections using adaptations of established indexes of work satisfaction and job enjoyment scales.

In addition to measuring job satisfaction, the report contained data regarding quality of care and the management staffing practices of having nurses work extra and "floating" nurses to other units outside their areas of expertise. Also collected was information regarding nurses' job plans for next year.

In the category of nursing quality of care, participants in general rated the quality of care provided on their unit as "good" to "excellent." Nurses working in critical care, maternal-newborn, pediatric and peri-operative service departments felt they provided the highest quality of care.

Meantime, 82 percent of RNs reported working extra, with most respondents indicating that working extra had increased on their unit during the past year. The highest increases in working extra were reported in peri-operative services, emergency rooms and maternal newborn departments. In addition, 26 percent of nurses reported being "floated" to hospital units within the past two weeks.

The findings of the ANA study may be useful in developing strategies that help retain RNs. Retention strategies are key to stemming the growing shortage of nurses in the United States. A report released in July 2002 by the federal Bureau of Health Professions indicates that if the nursing shortage goes unchecked, the demand for RNs is expected to grow to 2.8 million by 2020 from two million in 2000 (resulting in a 29 percent shortage, up from 6 percent in 2000). According to a Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service survey conducted in 2003, the turnover rate for RNs is 14.6 percent.

Although the ANA report does not measure actual turnover, RNs did report job plans for next year. Seventy-nine percent of all RNs reported they intend to remain on the same unit, while 8 percent reported they intend to leave direct patient care or nursing entirely. Only 69 percent of RNs on step-down units and 72 percent of RNs on medical-surgical units intend to remain in the same job next year.

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