Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Strategies to Enhance the Workforce
Assessing the Work Environment and Spiritual Well-Being of Staff Nurses at a Suburban Community Hospital
Mary Elaine Koren, RN, DNSc1, Michele Gattuso, RN, MS2, Kathryn Czurylo, RN, MS2, Patricia Zastrow, RN, MS, MM, APN, BC2, Rita Epsom, RN, MS2, and Barbara Stark, RN, MS2. (1) School of Nursing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA, (2) Nursing, Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Elk Grove Village, IL, USA
Learning Objective #1: describe methods to assess and monitor the work environment of professional nurses.
Learning Objective #2: discuss methods to enhance the professional nursing work environment.

Purpose: The aim was to identify medical-surgical nurses’ professional clinical practice environment score and spiritual well-being score on various units at one Midwestern suburban community hospital and determine the correlation in scores and differences in scores by clinical unit and demographics.

Significance: A work environment that supports the practice of professional nursing may help retain nurses. The professional nursing work environment consists of structural components such as control over practice, nursing leadership. However, supporting the spirituality of nurses, or meaning and purpose nurses find in their work may be an equally significant factor in retaining practicing nurses.

Sample: A convenience sample of medical-surgical nurses practicing on seven different units was recruited during staff meetings and using informational flyers. Seventy-one nurses completed the online survey during working hours.

Method: A cross-sectional descriptive survey with two instruments: (a) the Professional Practice Environment Scale (PPE) measured: handling disagreements and conflict; internal work motivation; control over practice; leadership and autonomy in clinical practice; staff relationships with physicians; teamwork; cultural sensitivity; and communication about patients, (b) Spiritual Well-Being Scale measured the spiritual and religious components of nurses’ lives. Participants also answered demographic information.

Results: Descriptive statistics, correlation, and analysis of variance were used to analyze the data. The nurses PPE and SWB scores did not differ significantly among units, however PPE scores and age (F (1) = 7.28, p ≤ 0.00), education (F (2) = 3.04, p ≤ 0.05) and years of experience (F (1) = 3.97, p 0.05) were significantly different and SWB scores and education (F (2) = 4.80, p ≤ 0.01) were significantly different. PPE and SWB were not correlated.

Conclusions: These findings provide a benchmark for monitoring the quality of the nursing work environment and suggest nurses with more seniority, experience and education can serve as resources for fellow nurses.