The Hospital Work Environment and Job Satisfaction of Newly Licensed Registered Nurses

Lynn Unruh, PhD, RN, LHRM; Ning Jackie Zhang, MD, PhD


Nurs Econ. 2014;32(6):296-305. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs) are an important health care resource and represent the future nursing workforce. Yet studies show many of them feel stressed at their jobs and would like to leave or do leave their jobs. Ninety-one percent of NLRNs say their initial years are stressful (Bowles & Candela 2005), and the mean NLRN stress level is 2.89 on a 1 to 5 scale (Yeh & Yu, 2009). A study of NLRNs in Taiwan found 31% intend to leave their jobs (Yeh & Yu, 2009), while a U.S. study found 15% left their first job within 1–2 years (Brewer, Kovner, Greene, Tukov-Shuser, & Djukic, 2012).

Job dissatisfaction of NLRNs is a concern because RN job satisfaction is related to retention (Brewer et al., 2012; Lynn & Redman 2005; McCarthy, Tyrrell, & Lehane, 2007). With dissatisfied nurses and high turnover, the quality of care may be affected (McHugh, Kutney-Lee, Cimiotti, Sloane, & Aiken, 2011). There are also concerns because the costs of RN turnover are high (Jones, 2005). Finally, dissatisfaction with nursing may be connected to leaving nursing (Shaver & Lacey, 2003).

It is therefore important to provide a positive working environment for NLRNs so they are satisfied in their jobs. Work environment issues that give rise to dissatisfaction need to be removed or changed and those that contribute to satisfaction should be implemented or augmented. In this study, individual, organizational, and work environment factors that may be related to the job satisfaction of NLRNs are explored.