The Hospital Work Environment and Job Satisfaction of Newly Licensed Registered Nurses

By Unruh, Lynn; Zhang, Ning Jackie | Nursing Economics, November/December 2014 | Go to article overview

The Hospital Work Environment and Job Satisfaction of Newly Licensed Registered Nurses


Unruh, Lynn, Zhang, Ning Jackie, Nursing Economics


Executive Summary

* In prior studies, newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs) described their job as being stressful.

* Little is known about how the hospital work environment affects their job satisfaction.

* A random sample of NLRNs were surveyed to assess the influence of hospital work environment on job satisfaction.

* Perceptions of greater job difficulty, job demands, and patient load were significantly related to lower job satisfaction.

* In contrast, being White, working 12-hour shifts, working more hours, and having more job control, greater professional tenure, and a perception of a better initial orientation were significantly related to higher job satisfaction.

Newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs) are an important health care resource and represent the future nursing workforce. Yet studies show many of them feel stressed at their jobs and would like to leave or do leave their jobs. Ninety-one percent of NLRNs say their initial years are stressful (Bowles & Candela 2005), and the mean NLRN stress level is 2.89 on a 1 to 5 scale (Yeh & Yu, 2009). A study of NLRNs in Taiwan found 31% intend to leave their jobs (Yeh & Yu, 2009), while a U.S. study found 15% left their first job within 1-2 years (Brewer, Kovner, Greene, Tukov-Shuser, & Djukic, 2012).

Job dissatisfaction of NLRNs is a concern because RN job satisfaction is related to retention (Brewer et al., 2012; Lynn & Redman 2005; McCarthy, Tyrrell, & Lehane, 2007). With dissatisfied nurses and high turnover, the quality of care may be affected (McHugh, Kutney-Lee, Cimiotti, Sloane, & Aiken, 2011). There are also concerns because the costs of RN turnover are high (Jones, 2005). Finally, dissatisfaction with nursing may be connected to leaving nursing (Shaver & Lacey, 2003).

It is therefore important to provide a positive working environment for NLRNs so they are satisfied in their jobs. Work environment issues that give rise to dissatisfaction need to be removed or changed and those that contribute to satisfaction should be implemented or augmented. In this study, individual, organizational, and work environment factors that may be related to the job satisfaction of NLRNs are explored.

Background

Few studies have examined factors related to NLRN job satisfaction and no studies have explored the relationship between NLRN job satisfaction and work environment measures such as job difficulty, job demand, and job control. In this background we define measures of job satisfaction and review prior studies on factors that contribute to NLRN job satisfaction. We then define work environment measures of job difficulty, job demand and job control, and discuss their relationship to job satisfaction among RNs in general. Finally, we discuss other work environment factors that may be related to job satisfaction among RNs in general.

Predictors of NLRN job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is defined as the extent to which someone likes or dislikes his or her job (Córtese, Colombo & Ghislieri, 2010). This study takes a "facetfree" approach to measuring job satisfaction, examining the actual feeling of the respondents toward their jobs - whether they like or dislike the job (Kovner, Brewer, Wu, Cheng, & Suzuki, 2006; Quinn & Staines, 1979).

A small number of studies have examined some of the individual and work environment factors that may contribute to NLRN job satisfaction. An individual contributor to NLRN job satisfaction may be professional tenure, which improves over 18 months (Halfer & Graf, 2006). Work unit cohesion, supportive relationships, teamwork, and positive experiences with preceptors and mentors are work environment factors that have been correlated with NLRN job satisfaction (Anderson, Linden, Allen, & Gibbs, 2009; Boyle, Popkess-Vawter & Tauton, 1996; Giallonardo, Wong, & Iwasiw, 2010; Weng et al., 2010; WinterCollins & McDaniel, 2000). …

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