Nurse recruitment and retention to work among nursing staff are matters of international concern (Sigma Theta Tau International 2016). A justified global question is: from where to get enough nurses and how to get them to stay in the profession and commit to their work (AACN 2014). Benefits, incentives, pension arrangements as well as the feelings of recognition and appreciation increase nurses’ satisfaction with their rewards, which again has been shown to reduce nurses’ intentions to retire (Von Bonsdorff 2011) and nurses’ intentions to leave their profession (Li 2010, Flinkman et al. 2013). Optimal rewards are one solution to recruit and retain committed RNs (e.g. Seitovirta et al. 2015, 2016).
This research study provides information for the Nurse Leaders of the best reward types perceived by RNs. A cross sectional, descriptive questionnaire survey of registered nurses (RNs) working in public and private healthcare in Finland was conducted in 2015 with a newly developed instrument called a Registered Nurses’ Perceptions of Rewarding Scale (RNREWS) which has 62 items measuring the reward type preferences of RNs. A five-point Likert scale (1= strongly disagree, 2= partly disagree, 3= neither agree nor disagree, 4= partly agree, 5= strongly agree, 0= I don’t know). Means of the items were calculated and the variation in the participants’ responses was examined. The study is a part of a research project of RNs’ rewarding in Finland and in this paper, we report one part of the project.
The best reward types were related to worktime arrangements e.g. “Flexibility of working hours”, to receiving appreciation and feedback e.g. “Appreciation from patients or customers” and to education e.g. “Access to training one wants”. Furthermore, RNs perceived that some aspects regarding work environment e.g. “Working atmosphere of the work place” (and leadership e.g. “Senior management’s leadership style”) were rewarding rewards for them. In addition, some monetary rewards such as supplements e.g. “Task-related supplement” and staff benefits e.g. “Extensive occupational health services offered by the employer” were reported being rewarding. Understanding RNs’ perceptions of rewarding is essential for the development of an effective reward strategy that accounts for individual differences. Nurse leaders and managers should reward their RNs in an appropriate and satisfying manner. The results can be used to improve healthcare organisations’ reward systems and thus the nurses’ recruitment, retention and motivation.
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