Job satisfaction of occupational health nurses at a private occupational health service provider in South Africa

Alberts, Igna
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Background: Job satisfaction is one determinant of employees’ health and an important component in the retention of employees. It is evident from literature that job satisfaction is a factor in the retention of nurses and the prevention of a high turnover. Literature also revealed that job satisfaction is seen as an important component that can have an impact on several areas such as patient safety, quality care and performance as well as commitment to the organisation and dedication to the profession. However, limited literature is available on job satisfaction of occupational health nursing practitioners internationally or nationally. Purpose: The overall purpose of this study is to determine the factors which contribute to the levels of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction among occupational health nursing practitioners working for a private occupational health service provider in South Africa. Methodology: A cross sectional survey design, using a structured self-administered questionnaire with close-ended questions and items relating to demographic date, professional status, doctor-nurse relationships, administration, autonomy, task requirements and interaction, was used in this research. Data was collected in this research by means of a structured questionnaire namely, the Index of Work Satisfaction, part B (IWS-Part B), developed by Stamps to measure American hospital based nurses level of job satisfaction.A total sample of 183 participants, all occupational health-nursing practitioners employed by the private occupational health service provider in three regions, was used, namely Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Pretoria Northern region Data Analysis: Data analysis was done through descriptive statistics using statistical assistance from a statistician from the University of the Witwatersrand Postgraduate Research Support Services. Setting: The setting for this study was in three regions namely Mpumalanga, Pretoria North and Gauteng, in which the private occupational health service provider operates. Findings: A total of a 180 questionnaires were completed and analysed, yielding a response rate of 97%. The findings relating to age distribution revealed that majority response presented an age group of 63% (n=114) between 30 and 49 years and predominantly female 88%, (n=159). The majority of the nurses, (78.3%: n=141) had one to four years occupational health nursing experience; 74.5% (n=134) of the participants were in possession of a general nursing qualification and 78.3% (n=41) had an additional diploma in occupational health nursing. The findings revealed that nurses who held a diploma in occupational health nursing were more likely to have a higher level of work satisfaction than nurses with a general diploma in nursing. The level of work satisfaction was higher for nurses holding a degree in occupational health nursing than either the diploma or certificate in occupational health nursing. The level of work satisfaction was higher for nurses who held a Master’s degree than a degree, diploma or certificate in occupational health nursing. The second part of the research instrument intended to attain the level of job satisfaction. The questionnaire consisted of forty items divided into six main components. The findings are reflected based on the majority responses from the different categories. vi Remuneration was found to be a major area of dissatisfaction as 72% (n=130) of the participants indicated being less satisfied with remuneration and 89% (n=160) agreed a remuneration upgrade was required. Based on the overall findings, it was apparent the participants were more dissatisfied with their remuneration. Professional status revealed 86% (155) of the participants were proud of their work and 88% (n=159) considered the profession to be important. From the general findings on professional status it was obvious OHN’s have a strong satisfied view with their professional status. The findings related to nurse-doctor relationship indicated occupational health nurses are more likely to be satisfied than dissatisfied with their doctor/nurse relations as validated by the response of 76% (n=136), who agreed occupational health doctors understand and appreciate OHNs and 70% (n=127) agreed that in general, the doctors cooperate with the nursing staff. Another section which indicated more dissatisfaction than satisfaction, was on administrative work as 87% (n=157) of nurses agreed there was too much administrative work required from them. The component on autonomy indicated the majority of nurses (74%; n=133) agreed that a great deal of independence was permitted, if not required of them, as well as 70% (n=125) agreeing to having freedom at work to make important decisions. The final element of the questionnaire on task interaction and relationships reflected that 82% (n=148) agreed that nurses in their specialty help one another when things are uncertain and 72% (n=128) agreed they were satisfied with the different types of work activities. Based on the findings, it was evident that the OHNPs appeared to be more satisfied that dissatisfied with their task interaction and relationships. Conclusion: The ideal work environment consists of staff satisfaction and continuity. Evident from literature, job satisfaction plays an important role in the preservation of workforce numbers, as well as a reduction in staff turn-over. This paper revealed that overall there are more areas of job satisfaction in comparison to job dissatisfaction. The findings of the present study increases the understanding of what contributes to satisfaction of occupational health nursing practitioners. Aspects such as nurse-doctor relationships, task interaction and relationships, professional status and autonomy contributed to OHN job satisfaction levels, whereas remuneration and administrative work created more job dissatisfaction. Recommendations: It is the aspiration of the researcher that this study of job satisfaction levels of OHNP’s contributes to a frame of information and that the data will create awareness of what contributes to the satisfaction and dissatisfaction levels within the profession of an occupational health nurse in South Africa. Within this study the researchers was able to present recommendation relating to nursing practice, management education as well as further research. It is the researcher’s opinion that the information on job satisfaction of nursing staff must be disseminated to interested parties throughout the field of occupational health. Key words: Job satisfaction, occupational health nurses, occupational health service provider, South-Africa
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nursing Johannesburg, 2014