Aims and objectives: This study examines the relationship between hospital work environments and job satisfaction, job-related burnout and intention to leave among nurses in Guangdong province, China.
Background: The nursing shortage is an urgent global problem and also of concern in China. Studies in Western countries have shown that better work environments are associated with higher nurse satisfaction and lower burnout, thereby improving retention and lowering turnover rates. However, there is little research on the relationship between nurse work environments and nurse outcomes in China.
Design: This is a cross-sectional study. Survey data were collected from 1104 bedside nurses in 89 medical, surgical and intensive care units in 21 hospitals across the Guangdong province in China.
Methods: Stratified convenience sampling was used to select hospitals, and systematic sampling was used to select units. All staff nurses working on participating units were surveyed. The China Hospital Nurse Survey, including the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index and Maslach Burnout Inventory, was employed to collect data from nurses. Statistical significance level was set at 0·05.
Results: Thirty-seven per cent of the nurses experienced high burnout, and 54% were dissatisfied with their jobs. Improving nurses' work environments from poor to better was associated with a 50% decrease in job dissatisfaction and a 33% decrease in job-related burnout among nurses.
Conclusion: Burnout and job dissatisfaction are high among hospital nurses in Guangdong province, China. Better work environments for nurses were associated with decreased job dissatisfaction and job-related burnout, which may successfully address the nursing shortage in China.
Relevance to clinical practice: The findings of this study indicate that improving work environments is essential to deal with the nursing shortage; the findings provide motivation for nurse managers and policy makers to improve work environments of hospital nurses in China.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.