The physical work environment in hospitals affects nurses’ job satisfaction, with implications for patient outcomes, and healthcare costs. Therefore, investing in improving nurses’ work environments is extremely worthwhile.
Job Satisfaction Pays Off
Job satisfaction is an important predictor of registered nurses’ (RNs) job turnover, patient satisfaction, and nurse-sensitive patient outcomes (including pressure ulcers and falls), which can result in higher health care costs and penalties for hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments.
Numerous studies have been conducted to assess nurses’ job satisfaction and the findings show that the impact of the physical work environment plays a huge role in RN’s Job satisfaction.
The Physical Work Environment Can Facilitate Efficiency, Teamwork, and Interprofessional Communication
A study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s RN Work Project finds that a physical work environment that facilitates RNs’ efficiency, teamwork, and interprofessional communication is related to higher job satisfaction. Maja Djukic, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor at the College of Nursing, New York University, led the research team.
The study, highlighted in a past issue of Research in Nursing & Health, revealed that physical environment has a significant influence on job satisfaction because the environment affected whether nurses could complete tasks without interruptions, communicate easily with other nurses and physicians, and/or do their jobs efficiently.
The research team conducted a nationwide survey of RNs to examine the relationship between RNs’ physical work environment and job satisfaction. They found that RNs who gave their physical work environments higher ratings were also more likely to report better workgroup cohesion, nurse-physician relations, workload, and other factors associated with job satisfaction.
The team was also led by Christine Kovner, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, a professor at the College of Nursing, New York University, and Carol Brewer, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, a professor at the School of Nursing, University at Buffalo. It included Farida Fatehi, BDS, MS, who was a research analyst at the College of Dentistry, New York University, at the time the study was conducted; and William Greene, Ph.D., Robert Stanksy and Toyota Motor Corporation professor of economics at the New York University Stern School of Business.
Facilitating Nurses’ Work Reduces Turnover and Improves Patient Outcomes
“Clearly, the physical work environment can affect nurses’ ability to do their jobs effectively and efficiently,” said Djukic. “The right environment facilitates nurses’ work, which increases their job satisfaction, which in turn reduces turnover. All of those improve patient outcomes. When investing in facilities’ construction or remodeling, healthcare leaders should look at features that enhance workgroup cohesion, nurse-physician relations, and other factors that affect job satisfaction. Those investments will pay off in the long run.”
Design Features To Consider
The physical environment was assessed based on the following ambient and design features of the workspace:
- Architectural design
- Arrangement and selection of furniture
- Art and decor
- Aesthetic appearance
This study supports that improving work conditions based on the listed design features would greatly improve nurses’ work environments and is extremely worthwhile in reducing turnover and improving patient satisfaction.
If you would like to improve the working conditions at your hospital, contact Marie Wikoff at Wikoff Design Studio.
Marie Wikoff, CHID, EDAC, LEED, RID has over 20 years of experience in the field of Interior Design and specializes in healthcare design. Her designs are not only fresh, but also appropriate for the space and the people that they are designed for.
Professional Associations and Accreditations:
- Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC)
- American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers (CHID)
- National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ)
- Registered in the State of Nevada (RID)
- The California Council for Interior Design Certification (CID)
- USGBC LEED AP (LEED AP)
- American Institute of Architecture, Allied Professional (AIA Allied Professional)
New York University. “Physical work environment in hospitals affects nurses’ job satisfaction, with implications for patient outcomes, health care costs.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723110127.htm>.