Rural nurse job satisfaction.Rural Remote Health. 2008 Oct-Dec; 8(4):1055.RR
The lack of rural nursing studies makes it impossible to know whether rural and urban nurses perceive personal and organizational factors of job satisfaction similarly. Few reports of rural nurse job satisfaction are available. Since the unprecedented shortage of qualified rural nurses requires a greater understanding of what factors are important to retention, studies are needed. An analysis of the literature indicates job satisfaction is studied as both an independent and dependent variable. In this study, the concept is used to examine the intention to remain employed by measuring individual and organizational characteristics; thus, job satisfaction is used as a dependent variable.
One hundred and three rural hospital nurses, from hospitals throughout the Northwest region of the United States were recruited for the study. Only nurses employed for more than one year were accepted. The sample completed surveys online. The McCloskey/Mueller Satisfaction Scale, the Gerber Control Over Practice Scale, and two open-ended job satisfaction questions were completed. The qualitative analysis of the open-ended questions identified themes which were then used to support the quantitative findings.
Overall alphas were 0.89 for the McCloskey/Mueller Scale and 0.96 for the Gerber Control Over Practice Scale. Rural nurses indicate a preference for rural lifestyles and the incorporation of rural values in organizational practices. Nurses preferred the generalist role with its job variability, and patient variety. Most participants intended to remain employed. The majority of nurses planning to leave employment were unmarried, without children at home, and stated no preference for a rural lifestyle. The least overall satisfied nurses in the sample were employed from 1 to 3 years.
Several new findings inform the literature while others support previous workforce studies. Data suggest some job satisfaction elements can be altered by addressing organizational characteristics and by hiring nurses with rural connections, experience and preferences. Rural nurses considered lifestyle and personal life issues when choosing a job. Concepts like time away from work, rural lifestyle, recreation opportunities, climate and social activities influenced the intention to stay on the job. Rural nurses with the most job satisfaction preferred rural lifestyles and possessed rural backgrounds. Since the generalist nurse role requires autonomy and task variability, recruiting nurses who prefer these job characteristics might enhance nurse retention. Other findings were tied to rural health and nursing theories. It is unknown why the most dissatisfied nurses had 1-3 years of experience. Similar studies with larger samples are suggested.