A rising issue in nursing in recent years is how staffing levels effect nursing outcomes including, but not limited to, nurse burnout and job satisfaction. Three types of staffing contribute to nurse workload; they are staffing by hours per patient day, staffing by ratios, and staffing by acuity. Following is an in depth analysis of how nurse staffing affects nurse job satisfaction and burnout.
Nurse workplace environments have only really been studied during the last decade. There is growing research in this area especially due to the nursing shortage. International consensus is if you identify opportunities to improve working conditions for nurses, you will have a higher probability of maintaining staff (4). The success rate of retaining nursing staff has been directly correlated to nurse job satisfaction. Nurse job satisfaction and nursing burnout are two concepts that go hand in hand. Nurses with feelings of burnout are less satisfied with their jobs and more likely to leave their place of employment or the profession as a whole. What makes up the nurse work environment and how these factors influence job satisfaction and nursing burnout has been a hot topic in research in recent years. The working environment as described by Aiken et al is comprised of staffing levels, managerial support for nursing care, good doctor-nurse relations, nurse participation in decision making, and organizational priorities on care quality (6). For the purposes of this analysis, the focus is on the different staffing systems as they relate to nurse burnout and job satisfaction. Staffing levels have a direct impact on the work environment and nursing feelings of burnout and dissatisfaction. By having less nurses staffed on a unit with more patien...
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...ts for the complexities of patient acuity and patient turnover workload and proved that maintaining such a staffing model is very challenging (8). However, the benefits of a staffing model that could incorporate all three staffing systems would allow administration to stay on budget and still maintain a manageable workload for clinicians which would sustain positive nurse job satisfaction and decrease nurse burnout. All in all, staffing issues are just one part of nurse job dissatisfaction and nurse burnout. The resolution of these issues is closer than it has been in recent years, but more research needs to be done that looks into combined nurse staffing systems. Through collaboration between administration and direct nursing staff through the use of evidence based practice research can healthcare professionals hope to combat the issues arising in healthcare today.
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