Nursing has become much more aware of the organization that they are working in and how that organization affects the overall quality of care given in any institution. These values affect the retention of nurses as well as the outcomes that patients have. Nursing has also done much more as far as examining their professional values and how those affect the patient’s outcome. This paper will discuss organizational values and how they are affected by nurse engagement and therefore patient outcomes.
Yarbrough, Alfred, and Martin (2008) completed a study on the relationship between the professional values of nurses and the retention of those nurses in hospitals. The ANA has a very specific Code of Ethics for Nurses and with the improving education of nurses throughout the country, nurses are paying more attention to those kinds of issues. High staff turnover according to this study is highly affected by the dissonance of the nurse’s professional values and the values of the organization they are working for.
The loss of and turnover of nursing staff affects the quality of care that a patient receives. This is shown by a study done by Hendel, Eshel, and Traister et.al.(2006). In this study, 500 nurses who had just left their jobs were given a questionnaire concerning the reasons for their leaving the hospital they worked in. Those were compared to the quality and retention level reports from those hospitals. The results showed a decrease in patient satisfaction as well as quality scores in those hospitals with poor retention levels.
Today’s nurses find it much more difficult both for values reasons and for ethics reasons to work for just any organization. As hospitals adjust to prevent loss of income due to reimbursement issues, it is often on the patient care side that cuts are made. According to how these decisions affect patient care, the ethical beliefs of the nursing in that organization may be affected. When that happens there becomes a disparity between the beliefs of the nurses and the beliefs of the organization. If those cannot be resolved, nurse retention and therefore the quality of patient care is affected.
Many organizations are beginning to understand that these issues persist. They have determined the need to work with nursing in the management of the organizational values and how they are affecting nursing. Yarbrough et.al. (2008) recommends that organizations put together a proactive plan in which they include the alignment of the professional nursing values and those of the organization. This should be a part of the strategic plan and the use of staff nurses in determining and setting up the plan is important. Yarbrough also recommends that further study be done in this area as those things that are affecting patient care need to be studied more closely as they relate to nursing to retain professional nurses and improve the quality of patient care.
There has recently been an issue at the organization in which this author works. The Director of Case Management who is one of the balancing forces between the patient and the needs of the organization became disgruntled. The reason for that was that the hospital had been sold to a for-profit organization that was reducing staff and the use of equipment to cut costs. Valued nurses were leaving and the quality and satisfaction of patient care were decreasing. She put together a plan and took it to the Senior Management Group and came out with a compromise between the administration and the nurses in the organization. Unfortunately, she subsequently left the organization because the organization continued to pursue values that she could not agree with. It was a great loss to the organization.
The values of an organization can greatly affect its success. In today’s world of medicine, nurses are becoming much more educated, and in that education comes a strong belief as to the values and ethics of how they feel about what they do and how the care of patients is affected. At the same time, nurse retention in a time when there is a great shortage is extremely important and when retention does not occur, the quality of patient care is affected. Therefore, there is a great need for organizations to become more collaborative with their nurses and help make an organization’s values a blend of the organization’s needs and the need for the nurses to give ethical and quality care.
Hendel T, Eshel N, Traister L, et.al. (2006). Readiness for future managerial leadership roles: nursing students’ perceived importance of organizational values. Journal of Professional Nursing 22(6): 339-46.
Yarbrough S., Alfred D, Martin P. (2008). Research study: professional values and retention. Nursing Management. 39(4). 10-18.