Over the past three decades, the importance of registered nurse (“RN”) job satisfaction has been significantly highlighted, as job dissatisfaction leads to higher turnover rates and a decrease of RN’s in the workforce. A shortage of RNs in California and particularly in San Diego nursing homes, have resulted in not only lower RN-to-resident ratios and thus unmanageable workloads, but also a decrease in the quality of nursing care. Resolving the RN shortage problem and facilitating RN job satisfaction is essential to maintaining the quality of care to which elderly residents of nursing homes are entitled.
A recent article published on August 4, 2011 by JiSun Choi, Linda Flynn and Linda H. Aiken entitled Nursing Practice Environment and Registered Nurses’ Job Satisfaction in Nursing Homes addresses the issue of nursing adequacy as an essential contributing factor to quality of nursing care. The article concludes that, to increase the quality of nursing care, an adequate nursing workforce should be guaranteed by enhancing and maintaining RN job satisfaction. The article identifies a variety of factors contributing to RN job satisfaction, such as work-related, demographic, and facility characteristics. The article concludes that best method to increasing RN job satisfaction is the construction of a supportive nursing practice environment in nursing homes.
The first factor to constructing a supportive nursing practice environment is enhancing RN’s participation in facility affairs, in which nurses are able to get involved in making decisions on clinical and facility-level matters. Therefore, in order to improve the RN’s job satisfaction, nursing home administrators are encouraged to implement a self-governance model for their nurses, such as enabling nurses to develop their own schedules and assignments, making hiring decisions, and contributing to enhancing nursing home policies.
The second factor the article addressed is empowering a supportive manager. Managers of nursing homes can play a significant role in promoting job satisfaction and are urged to facilitate a supportive environment for practicing nursing care, promoting RN teamwork and enhancing RN’s self-recognition.
The last factor associated with RN job satisfaction is providing adequate resources for RNs. RNs are more satisfied with their jobs when there’s adequate staff to accomplish their work with a high level of quality. Implementing this recommendation allows nursing homes to fall in line with federal requirements related to nursing services. In particular, Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart B, section 483.30, entitled “Nursing Services” specifically mandates: “The facility must have sufficient nursing staff to provide nursing and related services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident, as determined by resident assessments and individual plans of care.”
In fact, the Code of Federal Regulations go even further in that respect by mandating a minimum number of hours that RN’s must be on duty per week. 42 CFR § 483.30(b), entitled “Registered Nurse” mandates: “(1) Except when waived under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section, the facility must use the services of a registered nurse for at least 8 consecutive hours a day, 7 days a week.”
The issue of RN’s job satisfaction is closely associated with the quality of care that RNs are willing and able to provide. Maintaining and enhancing job satisfaction for RNs can significantly decrease the possibility of instances of elder abuse in San Diego nursing homes and in nursing homes throughout California.
Elder abuse is a serious issue requiring serious inquiry into preventative measures. The facilitation of RN job satisfaction is one of those possible and effective solutions. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, stay involved and get to know the RN’s responsible for their care. Let the facility know you are watching over your loved one, and demand to see the facility’s posted nursing hours and staff schedules. This is vital public information to which you and your loved ones are entitled. If you need assistance with what you believe may be an instance of elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact our experienced attorneys who are dedicated to and specialize in this area of law
The article “Nursing Practice Environment and Job Satisfaction” is available for purchase online.