Aim. This paper reports a study to identify the levels of work satisfaction, burnout and life satisfaction among Korean hospital nurses and the relative importance of negative and positive work outcomes (burnout and work satisfaction) in explaining the variance of life satisfaction of nurses.
Background. Previous research has demonstrated that work outcomes such as job satisfaction and burnout can affect overall life satisfaction. It is not yet known, however, whether positive and negative aspects of work outcomes exert equally strong or varying degrees of effect, nor whether the relationships demonstrated primarily in Western cultures also are present in other cultures. Given the widespread shortage of nurses, it is important to identify areas for organizational interventions that have the greatest potential for improving both recruitment and retention of nurses.
Methods. A cross-sectional correlational design was used. A survey was undertaken with 194 nurses from general hospitals of 300 beds or more in southern Korea between May 1999 and March 2000. Paper and pencil self-rating questionnaires were used to gather information. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, Pearson correlations and multiple regressions.
Results. Korean nurses reported moderate levels of life satisfaction, with low levels of work satisfaction and high levels of burnout. Burnout explained more variance in life satisfaction than work satisfaction. Those who experienced higher personal accomplishment and lower emotional exhaustion and who were satisfied with their professional status and did not work at night reported higher life satisfaction.
Conclusions. This study highlights the relative importance of negative work outcomes on nurses’ overall well-being. Strategies to reduce emotional exhaustion, enhance nurses’ personal accomplishment and satisfaction with professional status, and accommodate shift preferences for work scheduling were suggested. Replicating this study with nurses from other geographic areas using random selection will be needed to increase the generalizability of the findings.