Academic journal article Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry

Job Satisfaction and Stress among Ward-Based and Community-Based Psychiatric Nurses

Academic journal article Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry

Job Satisfaction and Stress among Ward-Based and Community-Based Psychiatric Nurses

Article excerpt


Objectives: To describe job satisfaction, determine its correlation with stress, work setting, and other socio-demographic variables, and identify any major dimensions of job satisfaction among psychiatric nurses.

Participants and Methods: All ward-based and community-based psychiatric nurses (including ward and service managers, nursing officers, registered and enrolled nurses) of the general adult teams of a psychiatric hospital were sent questionnaires including the McCloskey / Mueller Satisfaction Scale and Anxiety Stress Questionnaire.

Results: Data from 102 questionnaires (48.1% of all sent out) showed the nurses (acute / admission ward 30.4%, chronic / subacute ward 60.8%, community psychiatric nurses 8.8%) were satisfied with their jobs, being most satisfied with extrinsic rewards and co-workers, and most dissatisfied with the balance of family and work, and professional opportunities. Their job satisfaction was most strongly (and negatively) associated with stress (r =-0.31, p = 0.002). Three dimensions of their job satisfaction were identified: (1) recognition, control, and interaction; (2) extrinsic rewards; and (3) personal growth. Being a ward manager or service manager predicted greater job satisfaction overall and with extrinsic rewards in particular; being a community psychiatric nurse predicted greater job satisfaction with extrinsic rewards.

Conclusion: Overall, psychiatric nurses in our sample were satisfied with their jobs; stress, work setting, and rank were significant factors associated with job satisfaction.

Key words: Community health nursing; Job satisfaction; Nursing staff; Psychiatric nursing; Stress


In recent years, job satisfaction and stress among mental health care workers has become a focus of research, especially in the context of hospital-based and community-based care, as currently there is a shift of focus from the hospital to community. (1-5) Evidently, community-based mental health staff were generally more stressed than their ward-based counterparts, though there was no significant difference in job satisfaction between the two groups. (3) Among the health care professions, community-based and ward-based mental health nurses appear to be two of the most stressed groups. (6)

The relationship between stress and job satisfaction among nurses is interesting. A meta-analysis found that job satisfaction of nurses had the strongest negative association with stress. (7) However, community nursing, including community mental health nursing, appears to be more stressful but also more satisfying than corresponding nursing in hospital settings. (1,8) Job satisfaction of nurses was found to be an important variable associated with turnover of nurses, their productivity and performance. (9-12) The level of nurses' job satisfaction may influence patient care. (13,14) An understanding of the changing nature of nurses' job satisfaction may help to solve recruitment and retention problems. (15)

Managing motivation and developing job satisfaction is important in the health care environment. (16) Maslow (17) and Herzberg (18) have suggested motivation as a major component in job satisfaction. According to Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory, removal of hygiene factors causes job dissatisfaction, while motivators are sources of job satisfaction. (18) Some authors have proposed that intrinsic factors serve as sources of job satisfaction, while extrinsic factors contribute to job dissatisfaction. (19) Based on Maslow's and Herzberg's theories, measures of job satisfaction have been developed, (20,21) and studies have been carried out with attempts to identify areas and dimensions of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction among nurses. (12,22,23)

Various factors have been associated with job satisfaction of nurses. Age, education, years of experience, clinical grade, communication, recognition, opportunity for advancement, autonomy, commitment, and stress have all been implicated. …

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