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Factors Affecting Job Satisfaction Among Staff Nurses

by Kristine Tucker, studioD

Nurses who work on staff at hospitals and medical facilities often have tough assignments and difficult patients to tend to, but their job satisfaction is usually a result of less critical factors. Nurses are like most workers, so acceptable work schedules, manageable workloads and friendly co-workers can make all the difference. Staff nurses are often satisfied with their jobs when they find them to be rewarding and fulfilling.

I Make a Difference

Nurses often report high job satisfaction levels when they feel they are effectively meeting patient needs. Angela Beck, associate director and research assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, reports that 85 percent of public health nurses report being happy with their jobs, and 90 percent feel they make a difference in the overall health of their communities, according to a 2013 report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Nurses serve the public, so they feel encouraged when their work positively affects people's lives.

Personal Health Concerns

Some nurses report a lower job satisfaction when their workload demands pose dangers to their personal health. According to a 2012 survey of registered nurses conducted by AMN Healthcare, 50 percent worry that their jobs are negatively affecting their health. Staff nurses are constantly on their feet with little time to rest; they bend and stretch to assist patients; and they are susceptible to back injuries because they regularly lift and move patients, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Long shifts, late hours, lack of exercise and sleep deprivation also present health risks.

Nursing Isn't for Wimps

Nursing responsibilities aren't for those who are faint-hearted. Some nurses report low job satisfaction when proper safeguards aren't enforced. Some patients have communicable and infectious diseases that require precautionary measures. Nurses must guard against exposure to radiation, accidental needle pricks, inhalation of airborne germs, improper transfer and disposal of bodily fluids, contamination by blood and harsh sterilizing chemicals, according to the BLS. Co-workers and hospital administrators who don't enforce these safeguards might cause nurses to feel helplessly at risk.

Time Management Struggles

Even though 90 percent of registered nurses report confidence in their ability to make a difference in the medical health of their community, AMN Healthcare reports that only 47 percent feel they have sufficient time with each individual patient. Some staff nurses might have too many patients on their floor, labor shortages or excessive administrative duties, leaving little room for one-on-one time. Others might experience limitations imposed by health insurance companies that restrict certain types of care they deem unnecessary.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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