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Keywords:

  • engagement;
  • General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28);
  • job satisfaction;
  • job stressors;
  • nursing;
  • occupational health;
  • Work Survey

jenaro c., flores n., orgaz m.b. & cruz m. (2011) Vigour and dedication in nursing professionals: towards a better understanding of work engagement. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(4), 865–875.

Abstract

Aim.  This paper analyses the association between nurses’ individual characteristics, job features and work engagement.

Background.  Current shortage of nurses and turnover justify more research efforts on job satisfaction. Closely associated with job satisfaction is work engagement, a construct which is composed of vigour, dedication and absorption, and requires more empirical evidence supporting its relevance. Most of the studies focus on organizational features, while reducing the relevance of individual characteristics.

Method.  Survey data for this descriptive, correlational study were collected over a 7-month period (2006–2007) from a convenience sample of 412 Nurses. Measures utilized were the Work Engagement Survey, the General Health Questionnaire, and an ad hoc survey.

Results.  Concerning psychiatric morbidity, 49% nurses met criteria for somatic symptoms, 65·5% met criteria for anxiety and insomnia, 4·6% met criteria for social dysfunction and 10% met criteria for severe depression. There were no effects for length of service or professional category. Nurse managers scored significantly higher in several job stressors compared with other groups. Concerning engagement, 33% of the nurses experienced high dedication, 20·4% experienced high vigour and 36·7% experienced high absorption. Predictors of vigour and dedication were satisfaction with job position, higher quality of working life, lower social dysfunction and lower stress associated with patient care.

Conclusions.  Strategies to promote work engagement should be implemented. More attention should be paid to job environments to guarantee job satisfaction. Organizational strategies to reduce the stress associated with patients’ care, and initiatives to improve social and communication skills are also required for nurses to experience vigour and dedication.