There exists significant concern internationally about the ability of the nursing workforce to meet the growing health demands of populations. Contributing to this concern is a globally aging population, increasing life expectancies, and an ageing health workforce that is approaching retirement age. Strategies to address this issue relate to recruitment and retention of staff within the sector. As job satisfaction is shown to be associated with employee retention, understanding the requirements of the nursing profession with the aim to further engage staff has been a focus in international literature. Different generations have been shown to hold varying desired traits from their place of employment, with some authors suggesting that generation-specific retention strategies would be most effective.
Three themes and nine subthemes relating to job satisfaction have been identified, and are as follows:
- Challenging Practice Environments, which encompasses concerns around heavy workloads, challenging scheduling, and availability of professional opportunities.
- Positive Relationships, which relates to beneficial and supportive relationships with peers and supervisors, and a connection with the nursing profession.
- Feelings of Contribution, Value, and Safety within the Workplace, which describes the importance of feeling supported, recognised and appreciated as a nurse within the employment setting.
Across countries and health systems, there exists relatively consistent findings relating to the job satisfaction factors. Despite some specific examples of differences between the generations in regards to job satisfaction, there are significantly more similarities, demonstrating that retention strategies may not need to be targeted.
Although there are concerns about the engagement of Generation Y nurses with their chosen profession, there are currently programmes being implemented both locally and internationally, designed to address the negative components of nursing.
RN, RNFSA, M.H.Sc (Hons)
Gabrielle has nine years experience in the operating theatre, in both the public and private sector. Currently she works as both a surgical assistant and a theatre nurse in Christchurch.
Professional highlights include volunteering in Africa in 2017, and being involved in both implementation of the surgical safety checklist and participating in a review panel for the University of Otago.
Gabrielle completed her Master of Health Sciences (while welcoming her son to the world) through Otago University in 2020, which had a focus on workforce planning and job satisfaction of nurses. The research component of her study explored components of job satisfaction for nurses, with particular interest in Generation Y.