Creating a Healthy Work Environment: Empowering Nursing Staff

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science



Department or Program Chair

Eira Klich-Heartt, RN, MSN

Thesis Advisor

Eira Klich-Heartt, RN, MSN


Nurse satisfaction is a pertinent indicator for nurse retention and ultimately the delivery of quality patient care and patient satisfaction. Empowerment is a concept that embodies opportunity, support, autonomy and communication. Previous studies suggest empowered nursing staff improve patient outcomes. This study utilizes responses from three surveys (Experience of Work, National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators, ‘empowerment’ survey) targeted toward staff perceptions of the work environment. An ‘empowerment’ survey tailored to access to information and recognition was developed to determine the influence of these factors

on staff morale and patient care.

Eighty-five ‘empowerment' surveys were distributed, twenty-eight were returned. Of the 28 returned surveys, registered nurses (RN) prefer to be acknowledged by a personal letter (11/24) or by verbal communication (16/24), where certified nurse aids (PCA) prefer verbal communication (2/4). RNs believe the best form of communicating was via email (15/24) and a flyer in their work mailbox (11/24), where PCAs prefer a flyer in their work mailbox (3/4). A univariate ANOVA revealed a statistically significant difference between RN and PCA for email

While the hypothesis for this study is inconclusive, important and relevant data was collected. Communication and performance recognition have influencing factors to empower staff. Empowered staff can effectively empower patients and improve outcomes. Further research on implementing effective strategies to improve staff empowerment is recommended.