Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice
Edited by Simon L. Albrecht
Chapter 26: Staff Nurse Work Engagement in Canadian Hospital Settings: The Influence of Workplace Empowerment and Six Areas of Worklife
Heather K.S. Laschinger Introduction Employee engagement is an important concept for human resources practitioners charged with creating fulfilling work environments that contribute to organizational productivity (Maslach & Leiter, 1997, 2008; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004; Bakker & Demerouti, 2008). Engagement has been found to be related to important organizational outcomes, including in-role and extra-role behavior (Bakker et al., 2004), better mental and physical health (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004; Hakanen et al., 2006), and organizational performance (Xanthopoulou et al., 2009). Clearly, work engagement is a worthy goal in any organization. However, creating work environments that promote employee engagement is challenging in today’s constrained economic climate. Members of Canada’s workforce find themselves in dramatically changed working conditions after more than a decade of organizational restructuring and recent economic challenges. The healthcare sector in Canada, particularly nurses, the largest occupational health provider group, has been hard hit by these conditions. Increased job insecurity, job stress and job dissatisfaction resulting from heavy workloads and increased overtime hours have had negative effects on nurses’ workplace health and well-being. Nurses experience the highest number of sick days of any occupation in Canada (O’Brien-Pallas et al., 2004) and an international study of nurses in five countries revealed that almost a third of nurses were dissatisfied with their working conditions (Aiken et al., 2002). These conditions hamper efforts to recruit and retain qualified nurses. Nursing is facing a severe shortage, estimated to reach 113,000 nurses by 2011, with many nurses nearing retirement in the next 5 years and fewer people choosing nursing...
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