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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Barbara Heater


job satisfaction of nurses, rural health services


The purpose of this research study was to identify variables associated with job satisfaction and anticipated turnover among rural RNs. The sample for this research study consisted of 489 rural RNs in Minnesota employed at 21 rural hospitals. Twenty hospitals had a bed size of less than 50 and employed 271 RNs. One hospital had a bed size of 132 and employed 218 RNs. The instruments used were three self administered questionnaires: a demographic form, the Modified Anticipated Turnover Scale (ATS) and the Modified Stamps and Piedmonte Index of Job Satisfaction (JSI).
Three hundred thirty-five (69%) nurses responded. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze the relationship between the variables using log-linear analysis and Pearson correlation coefficients. The conceptual framework was developed from variables in the Stamps and Piedmonte instrument and categorized using Herzberg's theory.
The demographic variables that had significant relationships in this study included: 1) job satisfaction and area of work, 2) job satisfaction and community rating as a place to worship, 3) job satisfaction and non-nursing employment in the recent past, 4) anticipated turnover and financial status, and 5) anticipated turnover and seeking other employment.
The study's negative correlation between total job satisfaction and anticipated turnover (r=-0.3286, p=0.0000) indicated that nurses with high job satisfaction intended to remain in their job, but nurses with low job satisfaction planned to leave. The total mean job satisfaction was 3.243 on a scale of 1 to 5, with five being high job satisfaction.
1) Job satisfaction and area of nursing most worked findings illustrate the concept of job fit. The majority (139, 53.9%) of respondents worked in the medical/surgical (Med/Surg) area. Job satisfaction was evenly distributed for low, medium, and high satisfaction in the areas of Med/Surg, emergency room, and operating room. High job satisfaction was found in the areas of rehabilitation, intensive care unit and hospice. Low satisfaction was found in the areas of pediatrics, obstetrical, and coronary care unit.
2) The majority (n=135, 45.1%) who rated their community high (5) as a place to worship also rated job satisfaction high (n=56, 42.4%). Issues of meaning of life in relationship to work are discussed.
3) The majority (n=258, 87.2%) stated they had not worked outside of nursing. Of the few (n=38, 12.8%) who had worked outside of nursing in the recent past, only a small percent (n=7, 18.4%) were highly satisfied.. The significant relationship of job satisfaction and non-nursing employment in the recent past may have implications of life satisfaction issues.
4) The majority (n=174, 52.6%) stated they had enough money to occasionally splurge. There was an even distribution for intention to leave among this group. Those who stated they had barely enough to make ends meet (n=35, 10.6%), had a high intention to leave (n=20, 57.1%).
5) The respondents who stated that they were seeking other employment (n=97, 29.3%) had a high intention to leave (n=50, 51.5%).
The intrinsic variable autonomy (0.7643) and the extrinsic variable organizational policy (0.7579) had strong correlations to job satisfaction. Weak statistically significant correlations were found between anticipated turnover and task requirement (r=-0.1202, p=0.029), interaction (r=-0.164, p=0.003), and pay (r=-0.1702, p=0.003).
Retention of nurses is of greater importance in rural areas due to the length of time needed to provide adequate training for the diversity of work required. The RN-to-population ratio is roughly half that in urban areas, and shows no sign of equalizing. The supply of nurses has an impact on cost, quality, and access to health care available in rural communities. This study's findings regarding the intrinsic variables of autonomy, task requirements, and interaction; and extrinsic variables of pay, professional status, and organizational policy can be used to help understand job satisfaction and anticipated turnover among rural nurses in Minnesota. The findings can also be used to design efforts to enhance career retention.
Additional research is needed to determine if demographic, intrinsic and extrinsic variables are the same or different for other samples.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nurses -- Job satisfaction
Rural health services



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1997 Marcia Kells. All rights reserved