The most important factors related to job satisfaction among new nurse managers are not the same as they are for novice staff nurses or even more experienced managers.
“Nurses are there around-the-clock to care for their patients and have this unique opportunity to improve individual patient care because we are with patients constantly,” she says. “Unit-level managers are in a similar position, in terms of affecting outcomes for the entire population of patients on their particular unit, because they usually have 24-hour responsibility for patient outcomes on that unit.”
Frontline managers also affect the retention of staff nurses, says Djukic, a co-investigator for the RN Work Project, a decade-long, national study on new nurses’ careers funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and launched in 2006 by principal investigators Christine T. Kovner, RN, PhD, FAAN of NYU’s College of Nursing and Carol S. Brewer, RN, PhD, FAAN of the University at Buffalo (New York) School of Nursing.
“I had been working with Dr. Kovner as a doctoral student and was really interested in jobs satisfaction and turnover of nurses,” she says. “As I developed that line of work, I realized my key audience was really managers because one of the top reasons new nurses were leaving their jobs was poor management. So I became more interested in the nurse manager workforce.”
As the study participants gained career experience, some began taking on roles as nurse managers, and Djukic is now collecting data on new nurse managers—those with less than two years of experience as frontline nurse managers.
“As our sample of new nurses matured, more of them were going into management positions, so I had more data on these new nurses who then transitioned into manager roles and were new in their role of the manager.”
She recently published some of her findings on this group in Health Care Management Review.
So what influences new nurse managers job satisfaction rates? The two most important factors, says Djukic, are personality and procedural justice.
Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.