Nurses witness the results of their hard work in caring for their patients through difficult times. This is why nursing can be one of the most rewarding professions. Of course, it can also be incredibly stressful. Challenging work situations combined with understaffing issues can significantly impact nurses’ job satisfaction.
What is job satisfaction?
Job satisfaction, or the lack of it, has been linked to employee turnover and reduced job performance. But what is job satisfaction and what factors into it? Generally, it describes how nurses feel about their work, which goes beyond pay and benefits. It often includes feelings such as commitment, motivation, and personal fulfillment.
Nurses who are satisfied with their jobs have positive feelings about going to work. Positive job satisfaction has been associated with quality patient care.
Factors influencing nurses’ job satisfaction
Many factors influence job satisfaction for nurses, and they should be recognized by recruiters and healthcare leaders as things that are important to nurses. These factors include:
- Work-life balance: A healthy work-life balance can be tough in nursing, due to long hours and stressful work environments. Flexible scheduling and allowing nurses to take time off can be helpful and improve job satisfaction.
- Staffing level/workload: Not only is this a patient safety issue but a job satisfaction factor as well. Nurses typically work long hours in an environment with high-stress and pressure. Heavy workloads due to inadequate staffing will cause nurses to be more likely to burn out and be less satisfied with their jobs.
- Supportive leadership: Nursing leaders have a huge impact on job satisfaction. Leaders have a lot of influence over the morale of the unit and how nurses feel about coming to work. Leaders who listen, communicate effectively, and motivate their nurses often have nurses working with them who are generally happier with their jobs.
- Autonomy and decision-making: Nurses have extensive training and education and want that to be respected. For this reason, autonomy can influence job satisfaction. Nurses also want to collaborate with other healthcare team members in decision-making related to their patients.
- Teamwork and collaboration: A healthcare team that works well together is essential for job satisfaction. Effective collaboration and communication are key among nursing teams as well as with other healthcare professionals.
- Recognition: Recognition for the work that they have done can go a long way in a nurse’s satisfaction with their job. This can be as simple as a verbal acknowledgement, or more substantially through other means. Additionally, nurses need to receive competitive compensation and benefits.
Ways to improve nurses’ job satisfaction
Nursing recruiters and leaders have a large role to play. Below are a few helpful tips.
- Recruitment: Job satisfaction starts here. Don’t approach nurse recruitment as just filling the need with anyone who wants the job. Recruit and hire nurses who are a good fit for the unit, and ensure the unit is a good fit for that nurse. Get to know the nurse and understand where they are coming from and where they want to go.
- Leadership style: Leaders who are supportive, communicative, and motivational can better retain their nurses. Leadership styles can greatly influence work culture and job satisfaction. Additionally, having a nurse leader who will step in and help with the needs of the unit can boost job satisfaction.
- Professional development: Encourage and recognize nurses who want to further their careers through additional education or specialization. If possible, a financial incentive may be helpful, either through tuition reimbursement or providing courses for nurses. Recruiters should highlight any meaningful recognition programs offered to candidates.
- Work environment: Admittedly, this can be a difficult area for recruiters and leaders, as there are many factors that influence a nurse’s work environment. However, this can be an area that improves over time in a unit that is staffed by nurses who have good job satisfaction and aren’t looking to quit.
Recruit with intention
Job satisfaction shouldn’t be an afterthought for recruiters and healthcare leaders. It’s a critical component to quality care. By understanding the ways you have influence on nurse job satisfaction, you can employ a nursing workforce who is satisfied with their jobs and better able to provide the very best patient care.
As members of the largest professional practice within the healthcare industry, nurses play a crucial role in helping organizations meet a growing list of new demands and pressures. Ensure that your organization is setting up nurses for success by hiring best-fit candidates for the right roles.
For more information on Nurse.com’s skills-based talent marketplace or to build your custom talent acquisition solution package, contact us today.