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Human Resource and Organizational Problems

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Introduction

The human resource management department is considered as one of the most valuable asset in all organizations. This is because it is the combination of inherent abilities, skills and acquired knowledge represented by the aptitudes and talents of employed individuals who comprise of file employees, the rank, supervisors and the executive. It is important to utilize the human resources to the maximum possible extent so as to achieve organizational and individual goals. Therefore, it is ultimately the employee’s performance that decides the attainment of organizational goals. However, employee performance is largely influenced by job satisfaction and motivation.

The Christian Marian General Hospital has embarked on an aggressive job satisfaction strategy for nurses, where employee motivation is the key. This is significant part of the company’s aim of improving its productivity, employee retention and being competitive in the US markets. The company’s human resource department is the functional area of the organization that endeavors to develop programs, activities and policies to promote the motivation of the organization and individual objectives, goods and needs.

This is because individuals join organizations with specific motives such as security of job and income, satisfaction of psychological and social needs and better individual prospects in future. Different people have diverse sets of needs and objectives at different times. Therefore, it is the Christian Marian General Hospital management’s responsibility to recognize these needs and to provide appropriate environments and opportunities to nurses at work to meet these needs.

Job Satisfaction

The term figures prominently in many human resource management discussions. Boamah, Read, & Spence (2017), stated that job satisfaction can be defined as individuals’ feeling of satisfaction at work, which motivates them to perform at their best. It is not self-contentment, happiness or self-satisfaction but the satisfaction achieved performing the job. It is influenced by a number of factors that include recognition, wages, a chance for advancement and the relationship with coworkers and supervisors among others. Each of these dimensions contributes to an employee’s general feeling of fulfillment with the job. Sometimes the terms attitude and job-satisfaction are used interchangeably.

However, there are certain differences between them. Attitude refers to the predisposition to respond, while job-satisfaction relates to the performance factors. Attitude, which generally endures, reflects an employee’s feelings towards objects, organization and individuals while satisfaction, which is dynamic, refers to the employee’s attitude towards the job. Therefore, managers have to pay specific and constant attention to job-satisfaction.

Significance of Job Satisfaction

According to Boamah, Read, & Spence (2017) job satisfaction augments management with an assortment of information pertaining to the environment, employee, job etc. which facilitates in decision making, while correcting the organization’s behavior and policies. Secondly, it is used as an analytical instrument for learning employees’ problems and correcting and effecting change with minimum resistance. Thirdly, job satisfaction strengthens the organization’s communication systems while enabling management to smoothly implement strategies for shaping the organization’s future. Fourthly, it facilitates the improvement of employees’ attitudes towards work and helps in the integration of the workforce with the organization by inspiring a sense of participation and belongingness. Fifthly, it enables unions to understand what employees want. This facilitates settlement of grievances. Lastly, it permits management to make the right decision’s regarding training and development programs for the employees.

Improving employees’ morale and job satisfaction significantly improves job performance and company production. To take advantage of this, management initiated efforts to measure job satisfaction so as to understand the areas that need improvement. Management also began training their managers, particularly the first-level superintendents, to take notice of feelings and attitudes of their subordinates. Job satisfaction not only affects the efficiency of employees but it also affects job behaviors such as accidents, team-work, absenteeism and overall organizational performance, among others.

Dissatisfaction leads to employee frustration, which in turn leads to aggression. For example, dissatisfied employees will develop rebellious attitudes towards work and the management. Furthermore, dissatisfaction is infectious. It spreads quickly to the other employees and can affect the morale, image and performance of the whole organization. Various factors contribute to job satisfaction/dissatisfaction. These include career advancement opportunities, amount of tension and pressure at work, relations with supervisors and colleagues, work involvement, recognition for merit, grievance removal, working conditions, and feeling of loneliness and fatigue, among others. 

Literature Review

In almost every health care system around the world, the largest percentage of the workforce is composed of nurses. Nurses are the most extensively distributed group as well as the ones with the most diverse responsibilities, functions and roles. They provide nursing and health care to communities, groups, families and individuals. In reference to Suzan (2016), the care includes disease prevention, health promotion and treatment of common illness, acute care, patient rehabilitation, and long-term care for patients with terminal or chronic degenerative illnesses. In the US, however, the work of majority of the nurses is in the hospitals, nursing homes, retirement centers and rehabilitation centers.

The nurse’s autonomy in these places depends on one’s expertise and specialty. Some nurses diagnose patients, evaluate nursing needs, assess patients’ conditions, participate in physicians’ meetings and in-rounds to discuss and present patient information and initiate nursing proceedings independently when needed. Other responsibilities include leadership, research, maintaining inventories of drugs, linens and other supplies, cleaning reusable equipment, clerical work and supervising housekeeping staff, among others.

The health care system is, however, rapidly changing and evolving as the world population and the health care expectations and needs change. Suzan (2016) argued that the shifting population demographics, increase in disability and chronic illnesses, technological advances and the emphasis on economics have led to changes in health care nursing and delivery of care.

Nursing Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction in nursing represents the extent to which a nurse enjoys or likes their jobs. The concerns of nurses about satisfaction at work have evolved over the past decade. The “Institute of Medicine” committee on nurse staffing adequacy in the nursing homes and hospitals acknowledged the work life quality of nurses as the key issue. Doede (2017) noted that the quality of work life environment includes the work place safety, teamwork, personal satisfaction, reasonable workload, adequate physical surrounding and management support. Work settings that support nursing professional autonomy, better physician-nurse relationships and greater management over the practice surroundings have positive effects on patient outcomes.

However, Kenny, Reeve & Hall (2016) concluded that despite having this information, changes to the health care system in the last decade have resulted in numerous new issues and challenges for the nursing leaders. Funding reductions and fiscal constraints in the health care system has resulted in downsizing and restructuring in order to improve service efficiency and reduce costs. The restructuring efforts and nursing shortage have raised questions concerning the caliber of the nurse’s work life environment.

Data collection and Analysis

This study examines the relationship between job satisfaction, turnover and retention as well as the following factors: organizational and department policies; salaries, rewards, compensation packages and benefits; professional image; stress; and communication with coworkers, physicians, managers and administrators. A survey was carried out on 150 nurses at the Christian Marian General Hospital and the nurses answered the questions individually, truthfully and without any undue stress from the management. The survey was divided into various parts on the nurses’ job satisfaction and over 100 nurses fully or partially fulfilled the exercise.

The first part of the survey focused on the association between recruitment, retention and job satisfaction. More than 75% of the nurses indicated the following job satisfaction components as being important; interaction and communication; pay and benefits; professional practice and advancement; team building; and the work environment. The other 25% indicated respect and recognition, the work load, pay and benefits and open communication as the motivating factors. Asked why they still practice nursing and why in the Christian Marian General Hospital, the nurses gave various reasons. These include fulfillment and job satisfaction, desire to provide care, career opportunity, job and financial security, location and convenience, time investment and benefits and the work environment.  

The second part of the survey asked about the situations that the nurses identified as the most stressful. Most of the nurses indicated the following: workload; death and dying; lack of physical and psychological support; conflict with physicians, supervisors and other nurses; uncertainty regarding treatment of patients; shortage of resources; and inadequate training in dealing with patients’ and families’ emotional needs.

The study established evidence that nursing is a stressful occupation. Moreover, higher the level of stress, the more dissatisfied the nurses were. However, nurses with more than 10 years of experience had low levels of stress and were generally job-satisfied. The study concluded that the workload, death and dying and relationships with physicians and supervisors were the stressful areas.

The third and the last part analyzed what motivates nurses to stay in their positions at the Christian Marian General Hospital. These were the responses: coworker support and communication; overall job satisfaction; opportunities for diversity and clinical challenges and experiences; salary and benefits; and satisfaction with schedule and shifts. The survey also compared the reasons why a nurse may anticipate leaving their positions in the hospital in less than a year or staying for five or more years.

The areas of job dissatisfaction noted were: pay scale reasonability, salary reasonability; the extent that management is involved in solving problems; the amount of respect and recognition doctors show towards nurses and staff; adequacy of benefits; and the extent to which the hospital rewards advanced education and training.  

Discussion and Evaluation

The study analyzed the types of ethical climates present at the hospital, overall job satisfaction and the levels of diverse aspects of job satisfaction. It also examined the influence of various types of ethical climate facets of overall job satisfaction. The researchers concluded that 36% of the nurses reported dissatisfaction with their superiors, 62% of nurses reported dissatisfaction with job promotion opportunities and a cost control setting had negative impacts on the supervisors and the staff. The study, however, concluded that nurses who believed that the hospital provided a caring climate were more satisfied with the job, their supervisors and pay. The study also found out that an independent climate at the hospital did not affect the nurses’ feelings of job satisfaction.

The survey concludes that turnover increases and productivity declines when the nurses are treated unfairly or are not supported by their superiors and management. This paper recommends making better supervisor selection decisions during the hiring process or training the supervisors to constantly analyze the nurses’ feelings and job satisfaction. Additionally, the hospital should involve the nurses in solving institutional problems, promoting a caring and supportive environment and creating a fair climate that highlights no favoritism.

The research suggested that work overload, long work-hours and accidents lead to various health problems. These include high levels of stress, smoking, fatigue, sleep deprivation, high blood pressure cardiovascular disease and acute myocardial infections especially for new nurses who have worked for less than a year or two. The decline of job satisfaction, professionalism and commitment during the first year of employment for new and experienced nurses was because their job prospects were not met.  Therefore, the human resource management should evaluate new employees’ initial expectations and either meets most of them or advice new employees about their expectations during the hiring process.

Potential Benefits

There are various potential benefits of job satisfaction for nurses. These include but not limited to better service delivery to the patients, the smooth functioning of the hospital, improved communication at the work place, improved attitudes, provides the management with an easy time during decision making, reduced conflicts and rebellions from the nurses, less occurrence of accidents, quicker delivery of emergency medical care, patient and family satisfaction on service delivery, promotion of the hospital image, improved clinical and professional support, increased staff retention, helps management asses areas that need training and improvement, and cost saving in various departments. Moreover, Doede (2017) concluded that the management gains insight and implements strategies on improving job satisfaction at the hospital.

Conclusion

Job-satisfaction is an important and complex concept that human resource managers have to understand in order to improve an organization’s performance. It depends on various levels of extrinsic and intrinsic factors and how the management and employees’ view those effects. This is because the outcomes have diverse values for different individuals.  The critical factors that affect the nurses’ job satisfaction include leadership effectiveness and development, empowered collaborative decision-making, value-driven organization culture service delivery and work design innovations, the reward and recognition systems and professional accountability and growth.

The quality of the nurses’ work life is determined by the workload, clinical support, career mobility, professional respect, flexible shifts and scheduling, protection against diseases and injuries at the workplace, good wages, clinical support and professional leadership.  

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