Rutgers College of Nursing professor to study N.J. nurses' work environment

NEWARK, N.J. A Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member launched one of the largest studies of New Jersey nurses to explore the impact of nurse staffing levels and work environment on patient outcomes.

Funded by a $357,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and contributions from the New Jersey State Board of Nursing, the study's focus is to find out more about the New Jersey's nursing workforce and to determine how workplace factors influence job satisfaction and burnout among nurses.

A survey was sent to more than 52,000 New Jersey registered and licensed practical nurses asking them to rate their work environment. The 14-page survey covers topics including work load, staffing levels and the number of hours they worked.

"Currently, the New Jersey State Board of Nursing knows who is licensed in the state but has little information about the licensees," said Project Director Linda Flynn, assistant professor at the College of Nursing at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. "We don't know, for example, how many are actually working in nursing or how many have left the nursing profession because of clinical burnout."

The study will also look at workplace factors that influence job satisfaction and burnout among New Jersey nurses working in hospitals, nursing homes and home healthcare.

"With the worsening nursing shortage, we need to identify the issues affecting the current nursing workforce so that we can better plan for meeting the demand for nurses," she said. "Our hope is this study will help in the recruitment and retention of a strong qualified workforce and create a work environment that supports nurses and maximizes patient outcome."

The study, conducted with the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing at Rutgers College of Nursing, is part of a multi-state collaboration with Linda Aiken, professor and director of the Center for Health Outcomes at the University of Pennsylvania who is conducting similar research in Pennsylvania and California.

"By collaborating, we will be able to conduct both state-specific as well as multi-state analyses," Flynn said.

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From its headquarters at Rutgers Newark, Rutgers College of Nursing offers a broad range of academic programs on all three Rutgers campuses. The college offers a master's program with unique practitioner specialties and the only doctoral (Ph.D) nursing degree in New Jersey.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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