Committee Chair

Smith, Maria


Dept. of Nursing


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Emergency departments seem to attract highly motivated nurses who are challenged by this unique specialty area of nursing practice. Emergency nurses have initial contact with patients, making assessments and directing patients to the appropriate resources for health care. Skilled emergency nurses need to remain motivated to have job satisfaction and productivity for quality patient care. The purpose of this study was to identify intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contributed to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction among emergency nurses, to determine if there was a relationship between emergency nurses' years of experience and job satisfaction, and to ascertain if there was a difference between the job satisfaction of emergency nurses who belong to their professional organization, The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and those who do not. The sample of 458 nurses consisted of two groups. Group I were ENA members (n = 239). Group II was composed of emergency nurses who were not ENA members (n = 219). Herzberg's two-factor theory was used in the descriptive context with intrinsic and extrinsic factors to describe the conditions under which nurses in this study were influenced to feel satisfied or dissatisfied. This study of emergency nurses indicated that more of the motivating, or intrinsic, factors contributed to job satisfaction and the extrinsic factors contributed least to job satisfaction of nurses in this sample. The job characteristics model of Hackman and Oldham served as an effective basis for this study. It is possible that a position high in the intrinsic dimensions of skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback had the potential to be highly motivating. This motivation potential created opportunities for considerable self-direction, learning, and personal accomplishment. The future of intrinsic factors and their relationship to motivation and job satisfaction research may lie in how theories can be integrated with behavioral motivation and job characteristics. Social service, defined as the chance to do things for other people, was identified as the intrinsic factor that contributed most to the job satisfaction in this sample of emergency nurses. The intrinsic factor that contributed least to job satisfaction was security, defined as the way the job provided steady employment. Subjects indicated that the factor named co-workers, defined as the way coworkers got along with each other, was associated with the highest level of job satisfaction for extrinsic scales. The extrinsic factor of company policies and practices, defined as the way company policies were put into practice, was associated with the lowest level of job satisfaction for extrinsic scales. Examination of the relationship between emergency nurse experience and job satisfaction was performed utilizing the Spearman correlation coefficient. Results revealed that there was no correlation between experience and job satisfaction. The Mann-Whitney U test was utilized to determine if there was a difference between the job satisfaction of emergency nurses who belonged to the specialty professional organization ENA, and those who did not. The MannWhitney U test showed a significant difference, indicating higher job satisfaction in the ENA nurse group. Implications for nursing education, practice, and research related to future job satisfaction studies were suggested. Nursing educators should explore with students what factors are significant contributors to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction during role preparation. Changing demands upon nurses to learn advanced skills that produce positive patient outcomes within cost restraints make it imperative that nursing education address these issues in role preparation for students. An implication for nursing practice was indicated by attempting to discover the job conditions that appear to be important to nurses, analyzing responses, and implementing changes that reinforce job satisfaction and decrease dissatisfaction. Nursing research is needed to investigate a proposal that nurses would be more satisfied with their jobs if they were allowed more participation in decision-making processes with management.


I wish to express my sincere appreciation to Dr. Maria Smith, my thesis committee chairperson, who gave so unselfishly of her time, knowledge, and skills to guide me in this endeavor. Dr. Smith provided care and concern that resulted in a beneficial learning experience. I am grateful to the other members of my committee, Professor Anne Ch'ien, and Professor Margaret Trimpey. My sincerest thanks to Professor Ch'ien who has been encouraging and interested in my career since the beginning - a special bond for me. A special thank you to Professor Trimpey who contributed her expertise, has been a good listener during the tough times, and provided support and encouragement. I appreciate opportunities extended to me to succeed. To my classmates with whom I began the Masters Program, I extend my gratitude. We began our journey together and when my path was diverted from theirs, they were there for me then, and have continued their encouragement, prayers, and support. Perhaps our futures will present opportunities for collaborating as colleagues in patient care endeavors. I would also like to thank my classmate Kathy Lovin for her friendship. Even when we were overwhelmed, determination overcame anxiety and laughter kept us going. We have accepted all the challenges and hopefully will be successful in obtaining our goals. My appreciation is also extended to Rhonda Bovine, Gayle Haberkam, Ardyce Mercier, and Pam Collins. I am a better advanced practitioner because of their teaching, influence, and friendship. A special thanks to Dr. Billy Edwards, for being an interested and patient teacher who always took the time to explain when a problem-solving approach eluded me. I am appreciative of the interest and support given my research study by Dr. David Weiss of the University of Minnesota Vocational Psychology Research, and Ms. Patricia Hansen, Administrative Assistant. I appreciate the opportunity to use the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire-Long Form that Dr. Weiss developed, and to have access to the expertise of the author. Finally, I thank my son Frank, and my daughter Alison for their encouragement to attain my dreams. Their love, devotion, and sacrifices have contributed to achieving my graduate education.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Emergency nursing; Nurses--Job satisfaction--United States--Tennessee



Document Type

Masters theses




xiv, 105 leaves



Call Number

LB2369.2 .F565 1996


Included in

Nursing Commons