• hospital;
  • work environment;
  • care quality;
  • adverse incident;
  • nurse-reported outcome

Scand J Caring Sci; 2012; 26; 133–143

The professional nursing practice environment and nurse-reported job outcomes in two European countries: a survey of nurses in Finland and the Netherlands

The working environment of nurses is receiving international interest, because there is a growing consensus that identifying opportunities for improving working conditions in hospitals is essential to maintain adequate staffing, high-quality care, nurses’ job satisfaction and hence their retention. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between nurse work environment characteristics and nurse-reported job outcomes in hospital settings in Finland and the Netherlands and to compare these results. A comparative cross-sectional nurse survey was conducted. Data were collected from the two countries randomly sampling the countries’ National Nurses Association’ membership databases. In this paper, the results from Registered Nurses working in hospital settings are used. In total, 869 hospital nurses participated: 535 from Finland and 334 from the Netherlands with the response rate of 44.9 and 33.4%, respectively. Fifty-five items from the Nursing Work Index-Revised were used as a main tool for the practice environment. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify a set of internally consistent subscales. Further, logistic regression analysis and T-tests were used. Three practice environment characteristics were identified: adequacy of resources, supportiveness of management and assurance of care quality via collaborative relationships. Favourable evaluations of the adequacy of resources and supportiveness of management were positively correlated with nurse-assessed quality of care and job-related positive feelings and negatively correlated with intentions to leave a unit, organization or the entire profession. In neither of the participating countries were adverse incidents affecting nurses related to nurses’ evaluations of their current professional practice environment. Compared with Finland, in the Netherlands, RN appears to evaluate the majority of work environment characteristics more positively; nevertheless, to some extent, the results were uniform as adequacy of resources and supportiveness of management were main predictors for nurse-reported job outcomes considered.