Aim: To detect possible changes in perception of the nurse work environment, job satisfaction and burnout between the years 2009 and 2014 among nurses working in the Spanish National Health System.
Background: The global economic crisis has had a great impact on nurses in the Spanish National Health Service: tougher working conditions, lower pay and a reduction in social benefits. It is not known whether these changes affect the nurses' work environment, job satisfaction and burnout.
Method: Comparative, cross-sectional study performed in seven hospitals in the Spanish National Health System between 2009 and 2014, through 1,454 surveys of nurses working in internal medicine, surgery and intensive care.
Results: Nurses participating in the second period (2012-2014) were more satisfied with their current job (p = 0.001), perceived their work environment to be more favourable (p < 0.001) and had lower levels of burnout (p < 0.01). Professional factors as 'autonomy at work,' 'opportunities for advancement,' 'professional status' and 'nursing foundations for quality care,' as well as 'collegial nurse-physician relations' and 'nurse participation in hospital affairs' were the most important variables associated with these topics.
Conclusions: Professional factors may influence these changes more than labour conditions and remuneration aspects.
Implications for nursing management: In times of economic recession, encouraging interpersonal relationships, autonomy and participation in decision-making may improve the work environment, satisfaction and burnout of nurses.
Keywords: cross-sectional studies; job satisfaction; nursing and administration research; nursing staff; professional burnout; workplace.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.