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Why are so many nurses unsatisfied in their jobs?

Regardless of industry, position or pay-scale; every employee wants to feel as though he or she is valued and has the trust of superiors and power to make decisions that positively affect job-related outcomes. When employees who don't feel valued, trusted or empowered; rates of job satisfaction often plummet and may result in a high attrition rate.

A 2014 survey of 3,300 U.S. nurses sheds light on the many problems that plague the nursing industry and result in a large percent of nurses feeling overworked, underpaid, unappreciated and ineffective. For the survey, nurses were asked a series of questions related to work-life balance, authority to make decisions related to patient care, compensation and overall job satisfaction.

The results of the study are telling and show that the vast majority of nurses feel as though they are overworked, undercompensated and consequently unable to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, many survey respondents report feeling as though they are held accountable for patient care and safety matters over which they have little to no ability to positively impact.

The efforts of nurses to take action and make decisions with regard to patient safety and care are frequently hampered by scope of practice policies. With regard to scope of practice, such policies dictate what, legally, "nurses and doctors can and cannot do." Many nurses report experiencing feelings of frustration related to these policies and contend that patients may suffer harm and injury due to the fact that a nurse must often wait for a doctor's approval prior to taking action. Many nurses believe that scope of practice policies negatively impact patient safety and health and also put them at an increased risk for losing their nursing license.

According to a 2013 study that appeared in the Journal of Patient Safety, annually, between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die due to medical mistakes and hundreds of thousands more suffer painful and debilitating injuries. For these individuals and their families, a medical malpractice lawsuit may aid in the recovery of compensation and help bring about positive changes in hospitals and the healthcare industry.

Source: Healthline, "Nurses: Overworked and Understaffed on the Front Lines," Kristen Fischer, July 7, 2015

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