Most Nurses Satisfied With Their Jobs, Survey Finds

But survey also finds health systems need to improve morale and career-advancement opportunities for nurses

Most nurses are satisfied with their jobs, but leadership and management of healthcare systems can do more to improve communications, career advancement and morale among nursing staff, a survey by found.

The Job Satisfaction Survey interviewed nurses on a wide range of issues related to job satisfaction, including salary and benefits, the workplace environment, career advancement opportunities and employee morale.

According to the survey, 81% of the respondents said they would recommend the nursing profession to others. Seventy-one percent of survey respondents said their job gave them a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.

However, fewer than half of those surveyed said morale at their organization was high, and only 47% said they felt rewarded or acknowledged for their job performance.

Good morale is important to nurses

“Morale, acknowledgement of job performance, and satisfaction go hand in hand and are the basis for quality patient care,” said Jennifer Mensik, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, consultant for “As organizations work on improving patient outcomes in this era of pay for performance, engaging nurses in ways to improve their satisfaction levels is essential.”

Other findings of the survey include:

  • 97% of respondents said they believe nursing makes a difference in the lives of others.

  • Slightly more than half of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their current salary and benefits.

  • 71% of respondents said they felt they were treated with respect by their managers and colleagues. However, only 49% of survey respondents said leadership and management clearly communicated strategies and set achievable goals.

  • 71% of respondents said they were not looking for new jobs, while 29% said they were seeking new employment. Less-experienced nurses were more likely to be job hunting than more-seasoned nurses. According to the survey, 54% of nurses with five years of experience or less said they were looking for new jobs, compared to only 22% with 15 or more years of experience.

  • 61% of the respondents said they felt free to express their opinions, contribute ideas and set personal goals in their workplaces. About 55% said they were encouraged and supported to pursue continuing education. However, only 46% said they received opportunities for growth, advancement or promotion.

Nurses want career advancement opportunities

Mensik believes the survey findings show career advancement and professional development are important, particularly for younger nurses.

“We know that the millennials want to have opportunities to grow professionally,” she said. “These results demonstrate specific areas in which nursing leaders can work with their staff. This can result in higher morale, lower turnover and greater staff satisfaction”

The online survey was conducted in October 2016 and results were released earlier this year. A sample of 936 RNs employed in the U.S. completed the survey. The majority of those surveyed (80%) worked full-time, compared with 15% part-time and 5% per diem. More than 60% of the respondents had a BSN degree or higher.

To learn more about the survey results, click here.