If 88% of US employees report overall satisfaction with their current job and organization, then it follows that most industries should reflect numbers in the same ballpark, right? But, when it comes to nursing careers, satisfaction stats aren’t even in the same league.

According to a survey conducted by Medscape, a major online resource of medical news and clinical information, nursing satisfaction rates are almost the reverse of that 88% figure. Here’s the breakdown of the Medscape survey according to nursing credentials and workplace type:

Satisfaction with career:

  • “60% of APNs, 56% of RNs, and 48% of LPNs would choose nursing as a career again”
  • “26% of nurses identified their relationship with patients as the most rewarding aspect of their job”
  • “22% reported being good at what they do as their highest professional reward
  • “Just 18% cited “proud of being a nurse”

Satisfaction with professional environment:

  • “32% of APNs, 22% of RNs, and 12% of LPNs would choose the same practice settings again”
  • “43% of nurses in non–hospital-based medical offices would choose that same setting again”
  • “25% of nurses in college services, military or government setting, and long-term care would choose those settings again”

The study also cites a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers that calculated that every percentage point increase in nursing turnover rates costs a hospital about $300,000 each year. According to the same report, hospitals with poor retention rates typically spend $3.6 million more than hospitals with high retention rates.

The National Prescription for Nurse Engagement

The Advisory Board is a healthcare best practices firm that uses a combination of research, technology, and consulting to improve the performance of healthcare organizations around the world. In 2014, this organization released a report, the National Prescription for Nurse Engagement, outlining the five essential components of improving nursing engagement:

  1. Executive Actions

Here’s where the leadership has to behave, communicate, and make decisions that reflect the organization’s mission and values. The more transparent the work culture from top to bottom, and the more honest and open the communication between staff and administration, and between staff members themselves, the more engaged the nursing staff will be.

  1. Stress and Burnout

In a previous article, we discussed the widespread effects of compassion fatigue on American nurses, but there are also other major sources of stress and burnout. According to The Advisory Board, there’s a direct link between empowerment and burnout. The flatter the hierarchies within a hospital staff, the more likely nurses will feel their part is equally valuable to that of other nurses, doctors, and therapists within a team-based approach.

  1. Staff Input

In regards to improvement initiatives, nurses’ voices must be heard from the get-go, as they’re the experts when it comes to identifying how a new program will affect their workflow and their abilities to care for patients. All new protocols must then be implemented transparently, so that the staff agrees upon the correct procedure for each situation and may also give further input as to possible enhancement of these new protocols.

  1. Recognition

Be it done publicly or via personal messages, recognition of a staff member tremendously helps to build cohesiveness, loyalty, and engagement within an entire unit. Especially when managers show their appreciation, nurses are much more likely to find a sense of meaning and vitality to their daily responsibilities.

  1. Professional Development

What’s the best way to prevent job monotony? Hospital leaders should encourage and help nurses to pursue further training and opportunities, which gives nurses a clearer vision of their career paths. Not only will they improve upon their current responsibilities, they also will realize a greater sense of volition over their daily work lives.

Is there a single, comprehensive measure that will help improve these five components of nursing engagement?

Not yet, but people in the community are beginning to have the conversation like in this Nursing Solution, Inc. 2017 report.  If you’re interested in joining the conversation regarding how your organization can reinvent itself today, join the Engaged Nurse social community on the following platforms:






This blog was produced by the tekMountain Team of Sean AhlumAmanda SipesBill DiNome and Beth Roddy with lead writer Zach Cioffi.

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