Nurse practitioners (NPs) play an important role in health promotion, disease prevention and in the adequate delivery of health care. However, there are certain practices that de-motivate nurse practitioners and hinder them in the effective performance of their functions. Taking into account the existence of these practices, coupled with budget cuts to health care, higher insurance premiums and decreased government spending, concerns are raised in view of the continuous shortage of nurse and the exodus of experienced nurses.
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Because of their role in the healthcare industry, it is essential to determine the different factors that may influence a nurse practitioner from choosing and remaining active in nursing practice. It is important to find the answer to the question what are the determinants of job satisfaction among nurse practitioners? Specifically, what are the determinants of job satisfaction among nurse practitioners practicing in Arizona? The answer to this question is important since it may help in the advancement of the profession, retaining of more experienced nurse practitioners, avoid turnovers and ensure better continuity of care for patients.
Based on earlier research, job satisfaction is related to more years in practice, higher salaries, having an assistant and full-time employment. To verify the truth of this research, questionnaires were sent to the home addresses of nurse practitioners registered with the Arizona State Board of Nursing. Out of the 329 questionnaires sent, only 155 or a total of 47% responded.
The results showed that the overall satisfaction was 4.69 out of the score of 6.0. This means that the respondents were minimally satisfied with their job as nurse practitioners (Charlotte Shiestel, 2007). It was also found that the respondents were most satisfied with the challenge/autonomy of their job, professional, social, and community interaction. The results also showed that the respondents were less satisfied with intra-practice/collegiality, professional growth, and benefits (Charlotte Shiestel, 2007). The findings in this research conflict with the previous studies which had a relatively higher job satisfaction rating. It was also found that contrary to the previous studies, there is no relationship between job satisfaction and gender, employer type, annual income or employment status as there were no significant differences in the scores depending on employer type, gender, annual income, membership in professional nursing organization, or full time and part time employment status. The findings in this research are contrary to the work of the earlier research which say that job satisfaction is related to more years in practice, higher salaries, having an assistant and full-time employment.
The conclusion that can be gleaned from this research is that there is until now no clear findings on what factors determine job satisfaction among nurse practitioners. There being no consensus on this topic, it could only mean that we still do not know what factors make a nurse practitioner satisfied with his job and what factors make him dissatisfied with his job.
This article is significant because it tends to contradict earlier assumptions on job satisfaction among nurse practitioners. In the earlier research, there is a relatively higher level of job satisfaction among nurse practitioners. Moreover, in earlier research certain factors were identified as determinants of job satisfaction. This research contradicts the conclusions of the previous studies. This serves as a warning to hospitals and other institutions that they should not conclude that nurse practitioners are satisfied with their job. Further research must be done to avoid complacency that may lead to problems of absenteeism, poor performance, reduced productivity and turnover among nurse practitioners.
This research broadened my horizon in the sense that it made me more aware of the importance of job satisfaction especially among nurse practitioners. Because of the role they play in the healthcare industry, knowing what makes them happy and motivated and what de-motivates and frustrates them are important in the continuation of delivery of health care services. It also made me realize that one should not make assumptions about job satisfaction based on previous research. Nurse practitioners have different levels of job satisfaction. What may be considered as an important determinant for one nurse practitioner may not be applicable for other nursing practitioners.
The frustrating part about this research is that it is open-ended. It clearly specifies in the beginning that it seeks to find out the determinants of job satisfaction among nurse practitioners in Arizona. Yet, towards the end, it proudly proclaims that no clear explanation of satisfaction or dissatisfaction was found based on the results of the study despite conducting the same research to find out such question. In effect, it does not take a stand on the issue of job satisfaction but instead passes the responsibility to future researches.
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