In February 2003, Meridian Health established model nursing units at each of its three hospitals as part of a larger effort to address the hospitals' high vacancy rate for nursing positions. The purpose of the model units was to enhance nurses' job satisfaction while also improving patient health and satisfaction.
The project, which ran from October 2003 to April 2006, was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) New Jersey Health Initiatives (for more information see Program Results), a statewide grantmaking program created to improve health care for New Jersey residents through innovative, community-based health services.
- Compared to their counterparts in traditional units, nurses participating in the model nursing units reported higher perceptions of:
- Autonomy and control
- Organizational support
- Nurse-physician relationships
- Job satisfaction
- Nurses in model units were more likely than nurses in traditional units to be certified in their fields and to participate in Meridian's clinical ladder recognition program.
- Patient satisfaction improved more in model units than in traditional ones, and the model units demonstrated some evidence of improvement in quality of care.