Purpose: To determine the impact of nurse work environment and staffing on nurse outcomes, including job satisfaction and burnout, and on quality of nursing care.
Design: Secondary data analysis of the 2007 Thai Nurse Survey.
Methods: The sample consisted of 5,247 nurses who provided direct care for patients across 39 public hospitals in Thailand. Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate the impact of nurse work environment and staffing on nurse outcomes and quality of care.
Findings: Nurses cared for an average of 10 patients each. Forty-one percent of nurses had a high burnout score as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory; 28% of nurses were dissatisfied with their job; and 27% rated quality of nursing care as fair or poor. At the hospital level, after controlling for nurse characteristics (age, years in unit), the addition of each patient to a nurse's workload was associated with a 2% increase in the odds on nurses reporting high emotional exhaustion (odds ratio [OR] 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.00-1.03; p < .05). Nurses who reported favorable work environments were about 30% less likely to report fair to poor care quality (OR 0.69; 95% CI 0.48-0.98; p < .05) compared with nurses who reported unfavorable work environments. The addition of each patient to a nurse's workload was associated with a 4% increase in the odds on nurses reporting quality of nursing care as fair or poor (OR 1.04; 95% CI 1.02-1.05; p < .001).
Conclusions: Improving nurse work environments and nurse staffing in Thai hospitals holds promise for reducing nurse burnout, thus improving nurse retention at the hospital bedside as well as potentially improving the quality of care.
Clinical relevance: Nurses should work with management and policymakers to achieve safe staffing levels and good work environments in hospitals throughout the world.
© 2011 Sigma Theta Tau International.