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Back To Vidyya Majority Of RNs Feel Health Care System Lacks Capacity To Offer Quality Care

Nurses Love The Profession But Worry About Quality, Work Responsibilities

Nurses love their profession but have grave concerns about their day to day work, according to a report presented by the Minnesota Nurses Association at their annual convention on Monday, October 2.

In a study of several thousand licensed registered nurses in the State of Minnesota, when asked if they had a high level of satisfaction in their career, an overwhelming 70.6% said they did. However, when queried as to whether they would encourage others to go into the practice of nursing, 39.7% couldn't make the recommendation. An even more telling number comes in the response to the question "Do you believe you will receive excellent quality care in your declining years," 79.7% had no confidence they would.

"Nursing is an extremely rewarding profession, but that joy is being subverted by every day stress and overwhelming demands of the workplace," said MNA President, Kathleen Olson, RN of Bemidji. "The purity of nursing practice is being lost in today's health care. With that loss, nurses are sending the message that they don't trust the system will work."

The Study of Nurses and Nursing Needs in Minnesota was sponsored by MNA and conducted from October through December 1999 by Industry Insights, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, a firm that specializes in association research. The firm sent 4,000 survey forms to a random sample of all licensed Registered Nurses who where not MNA members; 3,000 survey forms to a random sample of MNA members and 500 forms to a random sample of former MNA members. A total of 2,251 responses were returned, representing substantial return rates of 29% for non members, 36% for members and 15% for former members. The survey consisted of quantitative and qualitative data that was analyzed over the course of seven months. The firm states the survey has a confidence level of 95%.

"This study gives us insights into how nursing fits into the overall culture and how they feel about their practice," said Olson. The study reveals that most people are motivated to enter nursing to care and comfort those in need. When asked why they stay in nursing, nurses say they realize they have a unique skill and expertise that helps people.

When asked to rank the importance of various items in terms of job satisfaction as registered nurse, respondents listed in descending order: Respect, Salary/Benefits, Workplace Safety, Influence over work hours, influence over practice decisions and education preparation.

The survey helped highlight issues internal to the Association and to the nursing profession, such as interest in education accessibility for nurses. Association leaders hope to use the data to help guide them in future planning to best address the needs of nurses in Minnesota.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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