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Keywords:

  • decision-making;
  • nurse aide;
  • nursing homes;
  • structural empowerment

Aims and objectives

To evaluate factors affecting structural empowerment among nurse aides in nursing homes.

Background

Structural empowerment can be defined as the actual rather than perceived ability to make autonomous decisions within an organisation. Given the paucity of research on the subject, this study helps to close the gap by identifying factors that affect nurse aide empowerment, that is, decision-making among nurse aides.

Methods

The data for the study come from self-administered questionnaires distributed to direct-care workers (nurse aides) in 11 nursing homes in a southern state in the USA. Ordinary least square regression models were estimated to analyse the effects of demographic predictors, personal factors (competency, emotional exhaustion and positive attitude) and structural characteristics (coworker and supervisor support, information availability and shared governance) on nurse aide decision-making.

Results

Findings suggest race among demographic predictors, emotional exhaustion among personal characteristics, and supervisor support, and shared governance among structural factors, significantly affect nurse aide decision-making.

Conclusion

It is important to explore race as one of the central determinants of structural empowerment among nurse aides. In addition, the nature and type of emotional exhaustion that propels decision-making needs to be further examined.

Relevance to clinical practice

The study shows the importance of shared governance and supervisor support for fostering nurse aide empowerment.