Nurse Manager Job Satisfaction and Intent to Leave

By Warshawsky, Nora E.; Havens, Donna S. | Nursing Economics, January/February 2014 | Go to article overview

Nurse Manager Job Satisfaction and Intent to Leave


Warshawsky, Nora E., Havens, Donna S., Nursing Economics


NURSE MANAGERS CREATE and sustain healthy environ- ments that support pro- fessional nursing practice and staff nurse job satisfaction (Duffield, Roche, Blay, & Stasa, 2011). Hospital staff nurses credit the quality of their relationships with their nurse managers as a de- ciding factor to remain in their po- sitions (Cohen, Stuenkel, & Nguyen, 2009; McGuire & Kennerly, 2006). Since relational leadership styles have consistently been associated with better nurse and unit out- comes (Cummings et al., 2010), strategies to build effective nurse manager-unit staff relationships should be a high priority. Inter- personal relationships are devel- oped over time; therefore, it is crit- ical that we entice effective nurse managers to remain in their posi- tions.

Nurse managers who build effective relationships with their staff nurses and are committed to their organizations may also play an important role in leadership succession because the nurse manager role is often the portal to senior nursing leadership. To build effective leadership succes- sion plans, nurse executives need to know more about nurse man- agers' satisfaction with their cur- rent roles and understand their career plans. Therefore, the pur- pose of this study was to examine nurse managers' job satisfaction and intent to leave their positions.

Review of Literature

Although job satisfaction, re- tention, and intent to stay among staff nurses have been well re- searched, relatively few research- ers have explored these concepts among nurse managers (Brown, Fraser, Wong, Muise, & Cummings, 2013; Lee & Cummings, 2008). Job satisfaction in Canadian nurse managers was influenced by per- ceptions of organizational sup- port, the quality of relationships with their supervisors, and struc- tural and psychological empower- ment (Spence Laschinger, Purdy, Cho, & Almost, 2006; Spence Laschinger, Purdy, & Almost, 2007). Job satisfaction among nurse managers working in the United States was influenced by supervisor and physician agree- ment regarding the nurse man- agers' use of their time (Bunsey, Defazio, Pierce, & Jones, 1991) and power to make changes to their work environment (Hurley, 2005). Ringerman (1990) reported that decentralization resulted in higher nurse manager job satisfaction and, by contrast, Wells (1990) did not find a significant difference in job satisfaction between nurse managers working in centralized versus decentralized organiza- tions. Kath, Stichler, and Ehrhart (2012) found autonomy and job predictability enhanced job satis- faction and reduced nurse man- agers' intent to quit. Whether mea- sured as empowerment, decentral- ization, or autonomy, nurse man- agers' job satisfaction seemed to be influenced by their ability to exer- cise control over their practice.

Building on the studies of job satisfaction, Parsons and Stonestreet (2003) reported nurse manager retention was influenced by quali- ty communication with their supervisors, empowerment to make decisions, effective staff management systems, profession- al development, work-life balance, quality of patient care, and ade- quate compensation. Mackoff (2011) interviewed 30 nurse man- agers who were in their positions for at least 5 years and known for achieving quality outcomes. Her findings were similar to those re- ported by Parsons and Stonestreet (2003). Nurse managers reported an empowered nursing workforce, high expectations for achieving quality outcomes, mission-driven decision making, professional development, and the freedom to take risks were important organi- zational features that influenced their decisions to stay in their positions (Mackoff, 2011). In addi- tion to the organizational cultures, the nurse managers in Mackoff's study also reported a need to maintain a good balance between their work and home life, have evenly distributed workloads, for- mal education and socialization to their role, and receive adequate compensation. …

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