Building a Stronger Workforce: The Importance of Studying Nursing Job Satisfaction

Source: Marcia Faller, AMN Healthcare, March 2009

Historically speaking, nursing shortages come and go. The current nursing shortage, however, is not projected to end anytime in the next two decades. Rather, it is predicted to become the most severe shortage ever. Given a sustained and critical shortage of nurses, it has become practical and even necessary to learn more about what motivates nurses. Why do nurses choose the career, how happy they are in their jobs and, maybe even more importantly, what causes them to be dissatisfied and leave their jobs and/or the profession altogether?

Nurses working in hospitals today are more dissatisfied in their jobs than most other workers. In fact, research has shown that as many as 40 percent of nurses are dissatisfied with their jobs, compared with only 10 percent of other professional workers and only 15 percent of workers in general. Nurses working as staff in hospitals are more dissatisfied than hospital nurses holding other roles. Even newly graduated nurses are showing significant signs of unrest. A recent study examined the job satisfaction and longevity of new graduates and found that 30 percent of new graduates left their job within the first year of employment. At the two year mark, a full 57 percent had left.

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