The nursing practice environment 2004-2013
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Positive practice environments have been linked to increased nurse satisfaction, nurse retention and better patient outcomes. Nursing workforce shortages have focused greater attention on the importance of retention, in which a positive work environment can play a significant role. This study aimed to examine nurses’ perceptions of the quality of the nursing practice environment in Australia, over a ten-year period. In order to address the aim, a secondary analysis was undertaken of nurse survey data collected between 2004-2013, from six acute-care hospitals across three Australian states. Across the period, nurses report a marked increase in instability (being forced to change jobs), a lower intent to leave their current job but also fewer employment opportunities. Broadly, nurse satisfaction with the practice environment is, and remains, positive. However, a decline was noted over the past decade. With large future shortages projected, organizations that aim at improving the nursing work environment may benefit in the form of greater staff retention, higher nurse satisfaction and better quality patient care and outcomes.
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