* Qatari nurse Aisha al-Qahtani has co-authored a report - now published by HBKU Press – identifying key global trends that influence nurses’ job satisfaction
Nurses need to be given the right psychological support and a clear career ladder to avoid them turning their backs on the profession through stress or frustration, according to a Qatari researcher whose analysis of job satisfaction in the field of nursing has been published through Qatar Foundation (QF).
Aisha al-Qahtani – herself a nurse – is among the authors of a study that looks at key reasons why nurses retain or lose their commitment to their jobs, a topic that has assumed even greater relevance as healthcare workers around the world find themselves in the frontline of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Published by Qatar Foundation’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press), 'The Impact of Job Satisfaction on Nurses’ Work Lives: A Literature Review' finds that the work environment, emotional factors, opportunities for career progression and accountability all shape how happy nurses are in their jobs – and that healthcare leaders and policymakers must recognise this, and act on it.
“As a nurse, I know that not all nurses are satisfied in their jobs, and many have decided to change their profession,” explained al-Qahtani, who co-authored the report with Bridget Stirling and Daniel Forgrave.
“When I have asked nurses why this is, they often have very different reasons for their dissatisfaction, which is why I decided to study the topic in greater depth. Nursing is one of the cornerstones of healthcare; we need to support those who are already in the field, and encourage others to enter it.”
The researchers studied 18 articles assessing nurses’ job satisfaction around the world – from Qatar, New Zealand, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the US, China, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Singapore and South Korea – to identify trends and conclusions. These studies contained the views of 13,458 nurses, including almost 3,696 from the Middle East.
Their findings – developed before Covid-19 broke out – showed that nurses who have opportunities to continue their education during their careers are generally more likely to stay in their jobs, although such opportunities often lead to nurses moving into leadership positions or other areas and away from frontline nursing instead. It added that nurses also need to be equipped to handle the “hostility” they can experience from frustrated or fearful patients and their families.
Workplace relationships were highlighted as central to nurses’ job satisfaction, highlighting that “negativity and tedious work” lead to them becoming disenchanted, while the emotional strain of the role can increase risk of burnout. Meanwhile, the report also emphasised the importance of professional development programmes that “empower the self-development of nursing staff”, saying: “In any healthcare organisation, there should be a career ladder platform – if nurses see a pathway for bettering themselves and their workplace situation, they will be more satisfied and less likely to leave the organisation and the profession”.
According to al-Qahtani: “There are many findings from this report, and many reasons that lead to nurses’ dissatisfaction with their jobs.
“What surprised me is that most of the reasons are connected to each other. The challenges for a female nurse often relate to the difficulty in finding the balance between our work lives and our home lives, and we simply have to do our best to manage.
“In the end, all we want to do is be able to find the best way to work effectively while also having a happy home life. Our job is to help people, and being able to find this balance helps us to do that.”
The authors’ work has now been published on HBKU Press’ online academic publishing platform QScience.com, and al-Qahtani says while the reasons for nurses’ job satisfaction increasing or draining away have been clearly identified, there remains a need for “a clear pathway” to be developed for putting in place the right measures to address the factors that determine how they see their jobs.
“It is so important to support nurses in both their personal and work lives,” she said.
“The workplace is like a second home for them. This is why they need both support in different areas of their lives – the physical and the psychological. And it is why healthcare leaders have to be adept at dealing and communicating with nurses, and encouraging them in different ways.”
To read the article on QScience.com, one has to visit https://www.qscience.com/content/journals/10.5339/connect.2020.1
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