Hospital Organizational Climates and Nurses' Intent to Stay: Differences between Units and Wards

By Mrayyan, Majd T. | Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, February 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Hospital Organizational Climates and Nurses' Intent to Stay: Differences between Units and Wards


Mrayyan, Majd T., Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession


INTRODUCTION

The Organizational climate' is a favorable concept to nurses, who are less likely to leave their work if they work in supportive work environments. These environments would influence the quality of nursing care and the patients' satisfaction. There is an increasing need to improve quality of care with fewer resources, which requires changes throughout healthcare organizations. These changes influence administrators' abilities to manage changes and the acceptance of employees who are experiencing these changes. These massive and repetitive changes would influence nurses' perceptions about the organizational climates at workplace. Thus, nurses may leave their jobs to take up other jobs or change their careers. In order to manage change effectively, nursing administrators must understand social variables that influence nurses' work-related attitudes, particularly by providing climates conducive to nurses' retention (Mok & Au-Yeung 2002).

In the current challenging work environments, nurses can be retained if they are involved in their patients and work-related decisions. Participative management is a key strategy to create a positive sense of an organizational climate. This type of management would enable nurses to exercise their autonomy and sense their value of work (Kane 2000).

In some countries as Jordan, nurses' retention became a research priority as a result of the ongoing nursing shortage (Abualrub 2007; Coomber & Barriball 2007). Nurses' turnover is escalating; recent figures about hospital nurses' turnover rates ranged 15%-21% per year (Advisory Board Company 2000). The estimated cost of replacing a nurse ranged $42,000 to $64,000 (Strachota et al. 2003), which is an increasing figure over the time.

PURPOSES AND SIGNIFICANCE

In the light of the rapidly changing healthcare system, creating supportive work environments and retaining nurses are significant challenges. Studies concerning the importance of organizational climates to nurses' intent to stay are limited. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of Jordanian nurses about the variables of hospitals' organizational climates, assess nurses' intent to stay, and investigate the relationship between the two concepts. Also, the researcher aimed to assess the differences between intensive care units and wards in regard to the studied concepts. Executing a comparative study between intensive care units and wards was determined by the recent changes in the healthcare systems that require more nurses to work with patients who require intense care (Kane 2000). It is important to retain experienced nurses, especially at intensive care units as they become specialized in nursing care (Hart & Moore 1989). Thus, it is important to identify variables that create supportive organizational environments, which would enhance nurses' intent to stay. Nurse managers need to develop organizational structures and processes that can enhance supportive nursing practice environments.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The concept of Organizational climate' is defined in varied ways. For the first time, this term was defined by Litwin and Stringer ( 1974) as a set of measurable properties of the work environment, perceived by the employees to influence their motivation and behaviors. Recently, Snow (2002) defined an organizational climate as the feelings of individuals about a particular work environment, which would influence the performance of the whole healthcare organization. Snow (2002) reported that the organizational climate represents the culture of a particular workplace that influences the team's performance. Litwin and Stringer (1974) categorized organizational climates into nine variables: structure and constraints such as organizational chart and channels of communication; individual responsibility: autonomy; warmth: caring relationships; support: expressions of support and acceptance; reward and punishment: blaming or motivating people, conflict: avoided or confronted; performance standards: clear standards for performance; identity and loyalty: promote employees; and risk taking: avoid risks or risk taking encouraged. …

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