Nurse assistants’well-being at work : is there a link to nurse leadership?

University essay from Nordiska ministerrådet/Nordic School of Public Health NHV


Introduction: As jobdemands in the healthcare system increases, one of the main protective factors involves support within the work environment. Limited knowledge exists about the work environment of nurse assistants and their well-being at work. A relatively small number of studies on this topic in the Nordic countries, and their results indicate high job demands and risk for negative health outcomes.

Purpose:This study aimed to investigate nurse assistants’ perception of job demands, the servant leadership of their next superior, job satisfaction, symptoms of emotional exhaustion, and physical well-being at work. It was also investigated whether perception of servant leadership of their next superior related to job satisfaction and symptoms of emotional exhaustion.

Methods: Questionnaires sent to all nurse assistants with registered email addresses at the Icelandic Nurse Assistants Association yielded 588 participants (49% response rate). A new Dutch inventory on servant leadership (SLI) was used to measure perception of servant leadership in nursing; additional questions explored work environment, demands, control and support at work, symptoms of burnout, and job satisfaction. To answer the research questions, a cross-sectional descriptive designwas used

Results: The majority of participants experienced high job demands and reported on control and support at work. Despite high levels of burnout, the majority of nurse assistants were satisfied at work. Servant leadership was practiced some what within nurse assistant’s workplaces. The correlation between perception of servant leadership, job satisfaction, and emotional exhaustion was significant for all SLI sub-factors except courage, and the strongest correlation was for empowerment, humility, and stewardship as sub-factors of servant leadership.

Conclusion: This study highlights supportive factors within the work environment, particularly regarding the leadership-empowering role of servant leadership in nursing. Results showhow thissupportis related to nurse assistants ́ well-being at work andsuggeststhat servant leadership can support health promotion within the work environment of nurse assistants. These findings are valuable for nurse assistants, nurse managersand leadershipin the health care system, thus contributingto public health

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