Work engagement supports nurse workforce stability and quality of care: nursing team-level analysis in psychiatric hospitals

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2013 Oct;20(8):679-86. doi: 10.1111/jpm.12004. Epub 2012 Sep 11.


Research in healthcare settings reveals important links between work environment factors, burnout and organizational outcomes. Recently, research focuses on work engagement, the opposite (positive) pole from burnout. The current study investigated the relationship of nurse practice environment aspects and work engagement (vigour, dedication and absorption) to job outcomes and nurse-reported quality of care variables within teams using a multilevel design in psychiatric inpatient settings. Validated survey instruments were used in a cross-sectional design. Team-level analyses were performed with staff members (n = 357) from 32 clinical units in two psychiatric hospitals in Belgium. Favourable nurse practice environment aspects were associated with work engagement dimensions, and in turn work engagement was associated with job satisfaction, intention to stay in the profession and favourable nurse-reported quality of care variables. The strongest multivariate models suggested that dedication predicted positive job outcomes whereas nurse management predicted perceptions of quality of care. In addition, reports of quality of care by the interdisciplinary team were predicted by dedication, absorption, nurse-physician relations and nurse management. The study findings suggest that differences in vigour, dedication and absorption across teams associated with practice environment characteristics impact nurse job satisfaction, intention to stay and perceptions of quality of care.

Keywords: job satisfaction; multilevel modelling; psychiatric inpatient care; quality of care; turnover intentions; work engagement.

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Burnout, Professional / nursing*
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Nurse Administrators
  • Nursing, Supervisory
  • Nursing, Team*
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Physician-Nurse Relations
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital
  • Psychiatric Nursing*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload / psychology