In a recent study conducted by nursing faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing, researchers found that a large amount of nurses are unhappy. According to the study, nursing dissatisfaction stems from working conditions, such as environment, staffing levels and benefit packages. In fact, the lack of benefits seems to be a focal point of nurse dissatisfaction.

Nurse unhappiness is nothing to take lightly. These people administer 90 percent of the world’s healthcare. Furthermore, the study has linked nurse dissatisfaction with poor patient outcomes. The study’s abstract reads:

Patient satisfaction levels are lower in hospitals with more nurses who are dissatisfied or burned out—a finding that signals problems with quality of care. Improving nurses’ working conditions may improve both nurses’ and patients’ satisfaction as well as the quality of care…More than one-third of patients report that they would not recommend their hospital to family and friends, and the quality of nursing home care has been a concern to families for a long time.

That’s a problem. With the passing of the Affordable Care Act, hospital emphasis has turned to patient satisfaction, which is great for us. But nurses are struggling to accommodate. Their dissatisfaction manifests itself.  According to the study,

Nurses have long reported that their work conditions are not conducive to providing patient-centered care that is safe and of high quality. The relationship between nurses’ working conditions and patient safety was recognized by the IOM report Keeping Patients Safe: Transforming the Work Environment of Nurses. Indeed, researchers have suggested that the work environment and staffing levels for nurses affect both nurse burnout—which is characterized by feeling extremely overextended and depleted of one’s emotional and physical resources in response to chronic job stressors—and job satisfaction, and are also associated with patients’ satisfaction with care.

The study goes on to segment nurse satisfaction by focus. The following are the types of nurses (providing direction patient care) surveyed and the percentage of nurses dissatisfied:

  • Hospital – 24 percent dissatisfied
  • Nursing Homes – 27 percent dissatisfied
  • *Other Settings” – 13 percent dissatisfied

There’s so much other data worth your time in the study, which you can read in its entirety here. The fact is, nurse satisfaction is pivotal to patient satisfaction. Which means that you and I are a lot safer when our nurses are happier.

How can we improve nurse satisfaction? We can start by addressing the nation’s nursing shortage. Remedies like international staffing and travel nursing are both a safe recourse for hospital administration to consider. According to a recent USA Today article, travel nursing demand has actually reached a 20-year high.

Providing better benefits is a good way to improve nurse satisfaction. That will vary by hospital system, but international and travel nurses can secure exceptional benefits for themselves based on which agency they choose. For example, Tailored Healthcare Staffing offers exceptional benefits.

There’s a reason the demand for travel nurses has reached a 20-year high. The nursing shortage is taking its toll on nurses knee-deep in the trenches, working longer shifts and playing multiple roles. They need help by way of reform. And until the happens at an institutional level, nurses should consider all options.

The study  would suggest as much, ending with “It may be possible to improve patient satisfaction and avoid other adverse patient outcomes while also improving nurse satisfaction and retention by improving working conditions for nurses.”

While there is still a lot of work to do in restoring nurse satisfaction, working conditions can be improved by addressing the staffing shortage and using alternative methods like international and travel nursing. Full-time nurses enduring these conditions might consider travel nursing instead, where they’re immune to these prolonged poor conditions and inner-hospital politics. Click the button below to learn why nurses like you start traveling!

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