What Factors Affect Nurse Job Satisfaction?

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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2019
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Generally, the factors affecting nurse job satisfaction are similar to the factors impacting job satisfaction in any other field. As a nurse evaluates her job satisfaction, she will consider professional and personal factors, as well as job characteristics specific to her nursing responsibilities. Typically, any factor that causes undue stress is a negative factor, and any factor that brings enjoyment is a positive factor. Of course, these will vary from nurse to nurse. Often, these factors aren’t exclusive to one category, and sometimes positive and negative factors will balance each other out.

Professional factors that can affect nurse job satisfaction consist of everything related to the professional realm. These include working conditions, management, hours, pay, and even benefits. Professional factors can cover everything from straightforward matters like a hospital’s cleanliness to more complicated matters like opportunities for advancement. Any negative factors, such as poor working conditions and unhelpful or unavailable supervisors, can cause low satisfaction. Likewise, positive factors such as high pay, excellent health benefits, and ideal working conditions can contribute to high satisfaction.


Some professional factors are specific to the nursing career. For example, a full staff might contribute to a nurse’s high job satisfaction. On the other hand, an understaffed hospital that requires the nurse to take on a high number of patients might contribute to low job satisfaction. An abundance of quality supplies can affect nurse job satisfaction in a positive way. Performing job duties the nurse is over- or underqualified for can affect satisfaction in a negative way.

Personal factors that contribute to nurse job satisfaction can range from the reasons she decided to become a nurse to feelings she experiences while working. If a nurse decides to enter the medical field to earn a decent salary but not because she has any passion for helping others, the amount of time she spends providing patient care might cause her to have a low job satisfaction. Similarly, a nurse who has a passion for taking care of people but feels she isn’t appreciated at her job might experience low job satisfaction. Other personal factors that affect nurse job satisfaction might not be related to the job duties themselves. For example, a nurse who has a family might not be entirely satisfied with her job if her hours keep her from spending much time with her family.

Sometimes, certain factors overlap or combine rather than represent individual or unique factors. For example, if a nurse doesn’t get along with her supervisor for personal reasons, this is a job satisfaction factor that is both professional and personal. Likewise, if a nurse is unhappy because her hospital is underfunded and doesn’t have enough supplies or the supplies are of poor quality, her job satisfaction is affected by professional and nurse-specific factors. Too, some factors act as pros and cons to balance each other out. For example, a nurse might not enjoy her night shift hours, but these hours might not negatively affect her job satisfaction if they bring an increase in pay and vacation time.


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