Job satisfaction among public health nurses: a national survey


  • Elizabeth A. Curtis MA, PhD, MEd, Dip Research Methods, DMS, RGN, ONC,

    Assistant Professor of Nursing, Corresponding author
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, Ireland
    • Correspondence

      Elizabeth A. Curtis

      School of Nursing and Midwifery

      Trinity College Dublin

      24 D'Olier Street

      Dublin 2



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  • Michele Glacken PhD, PG Dip. Advanced Nursing, BSc, RGN, RM

    Lecturer and Head of Department of Nursing
    1. Health Sciences and Disability Studies, St Angela's College, Sligo, Ireland
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Despite increasing interest in nurses' job satisfaction relatively few studies have investigated job satisfaction among public health nurses.


To establish current level of job satisfaction among public health nurses and identify the main contributing variables/factors to job satisfaction among this population.


Quantitative descriptive design. A simple random sample of 1000 public health nurses was conducted yielding a response rate of 35.1% (n = 351). Data was collected using the Index of Work Satisfaction Questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential statistics were deployed.


Low levels of job satisfaction among public health nurses emerged. Professional status, interaction and autonomy contributed most to job satisfaction while pay and task-related activities contributed least. Age and tenure were the only biographic factors that correlated significantly with job satisfaction.


Public health nurse managers/leaders need to find creative ways of improving the factors that contribute to job satisfaction and address robustly those factors that result in low job satisfaction.

Implications for nursing management

The critical issue for public health nurse managers is to determine how job satisfaction can be improved. Greater collaboration and consultation between managers and public health nurses can be regarded as a useful way to begin this process, especially if contemporary nursing is to embrace a responsive approach within the profession.