In the healthcare industry, nurses comprise the majority of the workforce. Almost half (48 percent) work in hospitals and provide more primary care to patients than any other healthcare provider (Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], 2012). In a news release of Employment Projections, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2012) presented the 30 occupations that are expected to have the largest employment growth between 2010 and 2020. At the top of this list are registered nurses. Despite this expected growth, in an Employee and Nurse Check-Up Report that evaluated employee job satisfaction for all hospital occupations in 423 healthcare facilities nationwide, registered nurses consistently rated the lowest (Press Ganey, 2008). Similarly, an Employee and Nurse Perspectives on American Health Care article found that the hospital employees who have the most patient contact are also the least satisfied and engaged (Press Ganey, 2010). Between 2010 and 2011, national hospital turnover averaged 14.8 percent with registered nurses making up 14 percent of that average (NSI Nursing Solutions, Inc., 2012). The cost to any healthcare organization for the loss of a single registered nurse is estimated to be about twice the nurse’s annual salary. In addition, hospitals can expect to lose about $300,000 per year for each percentage increase in annual nurse turnover (Hunt, 2009). As the known nursing shortage continues to grow, with an anticipated deficit of 260,000 registered nurses by 2025, it will reach levels twice as large as any shortage experienced in nearly 50 years (Buerhaus, Auerbach, & Staiger, 2009). With regard to these facts, healthcare leaders are urged to consider the satisfaction of their nurses for the future well-being of their companies. It is important for healthcare organizations to prioritize nursing job satisfaction, because doing so will increase employee engagement, increase employee retention, and increase patient satisfaction. Employee satisfaction and employee engagement are closely connected, both being equally important for healthcare organizations to prioritize if they want to keep quality nurses who will provide quality patient care. Employee engagement can be defined as the passion and energy that an employee feels about their organization and the behaviors they demonstrate to achieve the organization’s goals for customers and colleagues (Cook, 2008). The motivation for feeling engaged centers on feeling one’s skills and abilities are being fully utilized, feeling one’s work is worthwhile and purposeful, and feeling encouraged to innovate. The motivation for acting engaged centers on developing quality relationships with coworkers, confidently relying on one’s supervisor, and generally trusting and respecting one another. (Schneider, Macey, Barbera, & Martin, 2009). Historically, nurses who were dissatisfied could quit and find a job at another hospital. However, the struggling economy has now forced dissatisfied nurses to “quit and stay” with their current employer. Press Ganey (2008) believes that “during times of significant challenges, one of the most powerful solutions is to find business partners who align themselves with the mission of the organization and contribute to its success” (p. 2). They point out that front-line staff should be considered the principal group of potential partners within any organization and propose their Employee Partnership model as a way of positively affecting both employee satisfaction and engagement. Press Ganey (2009) describes the four different states of partnership that employees might experience. Individuals who feel distanced are neither satisfied nor engaged. Detached individuals feel satisfied but not engaged. Discontented individuals feel engaged but not satisfied. And dedicated individuals, which is the ideal state, feel both satisfied and engaged. Organizations that build a partnership with their employees, creating an environment where...
References: Buerhaus, P. I., Auerbach, David I. & Staiger, Douglas O. (2009). The recent surge in nursing employment: causes and implications. Health Affairs, 28, w257-w268. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.4.w657
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2012) Occupational Outlook Handbook: Registered Nurses. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
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