Keys to Nursing Job Satisfaction
For many years now, the results from various annual surveys about which profession people trust the most; the nursing professional has come out at or near the top. But just because they are the most trusted in the eyes of the public doesn’t mean they are all blindly satisfied with their current job. In fact, a closer look at data from a recent survey of 3,400 registered nurses shows that while they are satisfied with their career choice to become an RN (Up to 96%), less (only 72%) are satisfied with their current job. Let’s examine why there is a discrepancy and what are the keys to job satisfaction for nurses.
Rolling With the Changes. There is no question that the nursing profession is changing rapidly, as are many professions being impacted by advancing technologies. According to the survey, one technological development that is negatively impacting older nurses is the adoption of electronic medical records. Conversely, survey data shows that younger nurses feel that electronic medical records are a positive change, improve productivity, and quality of care. One way nurses of all ages can protect themselves against technologies impacting their job satisfaction is to allow for the fact that change will probably be the major constant in their career as a medical professional. Finding ways to prepare for and better accept change will go far in maintaining positivity in the workplace.
Staffing Levels are Key. Another factor that plays a role in nursing job satisfaction is how staffing shortages impact the current workforce. Nursing professionals who are not frequently impacted by staffing shortages are generally more satisfied in their positions. Nurses who face constant staff shortages in their environment express concerns over a decline in the quality of care and the negative impact that inconsistent schedules and unexpected long hours have on their own health and well-being.
Physical Work Environment Plays a Role. In 2014, a study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation determined that the physical work environment has an influence on the perception of nurses about their job satisfaction. When work areas are crowded, lighting is overly artificial and dim, and even temperature all play a role in a nurse's perception of the job. When nurses describe their environments in positive terms for décor, lighting, colors, etc., they also report stronger working relationships and higher satisfaction.
Proactive Approaches to Nurse Health and Wellness. A study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing determined that in work environments that had health and wellness systems in place and took proactive approaches to nurse safety and dealing with on-the-job injuries had much higher job satisfaction rates than respondents who did not mention those types of approaches in their workplace.
Teamwork. Most people enjoy being part of a team rather than feeling as if they are on their own. Nursing professionals are no different. When nurses feel that they are part of a team-based approach to patient care, then they express greater satisfaction with their job. In recent years, much has been made of more organizations taking team-based approaches to patient care. Those organizations that have fully committed to teamwork are finding that their staff is happier and more satisfied in their job.
Celebrating Successes Promote Satisfied Staff. Often it is the little things that mean the most to keeping staff satisfied and happy to come to work every day. Recognition on a regular basis can go a long way toward developing a culture where nurses feel that their efforts are appreciated. Recognition can overcome the occasional staffing shortage and lead toward greater staff retention. Proactive organizations have a “Celebrations Committee” to help engage the staff in recognition and reward programs.
While much of the onus is on employers to develop the programs and strategies to cultivate a satisfied workforce, that doesn’t mean that front-line staff and others all the way to the C-Suites can’t play a role in affecting change in the workplace. Think about things that can make your organization a better place to work and then do something about it. Talk to your HR representatives, a supervisor, or even a mentor and see if you can be the catalyst to bring about needed changes. It only takes one person to make a difference for many.
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Here is another key to contribute to nursing job satisfaction, treat the nurse with respect and dignity! This applies to management and other nurses at the workplace. As a victim of lateral violence, then the vertical violence when I started writing the other nurse up, then the mobbing started. This was at a facility that had a no tolerance policy, yeah a no tolerance for the victims. One time I was giving a report for a patient going to the cath lab from the ED, the nurse receiving the report kept asking are you gay? Seriously? This patient can die in a minute and your only concern is if I am gay? How about the married male nurse that kept propositioning me. When he finally got the no and to leave me alone answer, he started pointing me out to patients, telling them my full name, and stated that I like to wear dresses at home. I reported him and was told that was acceptable work behavior! Seriously? I then reported the other sexual harassment and was surprised that they took action on that. Here are my suggestions, everyone put your big boy or girl pants on when you go to work, accept that you will not like everyone you work with and give them the respect they STILL deserve and don't go out of your way to make trouble for them, you want to have sex with a co-worker (that is unprofessional in my opinion) then ask them to go out for a drink or meal after work and proposition them there (work is for work), if they turn you down go back to the first suggestion and get over it, showing picture of your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband coming out of the shower/bed or any other stage of undress is rude and unprofessional - do that on you own time, stick up for a nurse that is being abused by another nurse, your time is coming sometime in the future. I have read that the nursing shortage is from lack of instructors. That may be true but a large contributor to the nursing shortage is nurses quitting due to abuse from their peers and management, and that also happens in our colleges. I have worked in different jobs and I have never seen or experienced the level of abuse, ridicule, contempt, games, and people just being mean (yes, I am being redundant to emphasize the point) that is ACCEPTED BEHAVIOR IN THE PROFESSION OF NURSING. You want job satisfaction and nursing to grow? Start with stopping all this garbage and firing those individuals that perpetrate it. Now, if you find this comment offensive, or how dare you talk about nursing that way, then you are part of the problem. Sweeping this issue under the rug or looking the other way will not make it go away, if fact it will only perpetuate it.