Recent Research About Nursing, March 2011

    • March 30, 2011


Job Dissatisfaction and Burnout Higher Among Nurses in Hospitals and Nursing Homes than Elsewhere, RWJF-Funded Research Finds

A published study finds much higher job dissatisfaction and burnout among nurses directly caring for patients in hospitals and nursing homes than among nurses working in other settings. The study was conducted by researchers at the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the National Institute of Nursing Research and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Examining survey responses from more than 95,000 registered nurses, researchers found higher job dissatisfaction among nurses providing direct care in hospitals (24 percent) and nursing homes (27 percent) than nurses in all other settings (13 percent). Also, hospital and nursing home nurses were more likely to say that their workloads caused them to miss important changes in their patients’ conditions and to fail to report important information about their patients during staff changes. Hospital staff nurses also reported high levels of burnout (34 percent), and dissatisfaction with their health care benefits (41 percent) and retirement benefits (50 percent).

Combining data from the survey of nurses with separate data about patient satisfaction and the specific hospitals in which the responding nurses worked, researchers went on to reach conclusions about the effect of nurses’ job dissatisfaction on patient satisfaction. They found that for every additional 10 percent of nurses in a given hospital who reported job dissatisfaction, the share of patients who would definitely recommend the hospital to a family member or friend decreased by about 2 percentage points.

The study was published in the February issue of Health Affairs. Authors included Matthew McHugh, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H., R.N., C.R.N.P., and Linda Aiken, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., F.R.C.N. Aiken is a 1988 recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research and a former vice president at RWJF, and is now director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research.

Meanwhile, an unrelated study, funded separately and published in the March/April issue of Nursing Research, identifies another important factor in nurses’ sense of job satisfaction: work environments that give them a sense of empowerment in their jobs.

The study by Heather K. Spence Laschinger, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., F.C.A.H.S., and colleagues relied on a survey of 217 nurses. The data revealed that a sense of empowerment on the job, derived from organizational structure and strong unit-level leadership, “resulted in significantly higher levels of individual nurse job satisfaction.”

Nurse Interventions with Arthroscopy Patients Show Positive Results

A new study in the March/April issue of Nursing Research finds that telephone calls from nurses to patients recovering from outpatient arthroscopic surgery improved patient outcomes.

Dorothy Jones, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., and colleagues conducted randomized clinical trials comparing outcomes for patients who received postoperative phone calls from nurses with outcomes for patients who did not. They found that calls during the “immediate postoperative period resulted in improved patient outcomes, namely, less symptom distress and better physical and mental health states.”