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Job satisfaction in mainland China: comparing critical care nurses and general ward nurses


Correspondence to H. Tao and XH. Liu:




To explore the level of nurses' job satisfaction and compare the differences between critical care nurses and general ward nurses in Mainland China.


Hospitals continue to experience high nurse turnover. Job satisfaction is a key factor to retain skilled nurses. The differences in job satisfaction among critical care nurses and general ward nurses are unknown.


A cross-sectional design was selected for this descriptive correlation study.


Cross-sectional study of critical care nurses (= 446) and general ward nurses (= 1118) in 9 general hospitals by means of questionnaires that included the Chinese Nurses Job Satisfaction Scale and demographic scale. The data were collected from June 2010–November 2010.


Chinese nurses had moderate levels of job satisfaction, were satisfied with co-workers and family/work balance; and dissatisfied with pay and professional promotion. Critical care nurses were younger; less educated and had less job tenure when compared with nurses working on general wards. Critical care nurses were significantly less satisfied than general ward nurses with many aspects of their job.


Levels of nurses' job satisfaction can be improved. The lower job satisfaction of critical care nurses compared with general ward nurses should warn the healthcare administrators and managers of potentially increasing the critical care nurses turn over. Innovative and adaptable managerial interventions need to be taken to improve critical care nurse' job satisfaction and retain skilled nurse.