Job satisfaction among hospital nurses: A literature review

Hong Lu, Yang Zhao, Alison While

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

323 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Globally there are mounting concerns about nurses’ job satisfaction because of its pivotal role in nurse turnover and the quality of care of patients.

Objectives: To identify a more comprehensive and extensive knowledge of the job satisfaction of qualified general nurses working in acute care hospitals and its associated factors drawing upon empirical literature published in the last five years.

Design: Literature review.

Data sources: A comprehensive electronic database search was conducted in PubMed (2012–2017), Web of Science (2012–2017), CINAHL (2012–2017), Embase (2012–2017), PsycINFO (2012–2017) and the Applied Social Sciences Index (2012–2017), CNKI (2012–2017), WanFang (2012–2017), SinoMed (2012–2017) and VIP (2012–2017) to retrieve relevant articles published in both English and Chinese between January 2012 and October 2017.

Review methods: Key terms and phrases associated with job satisfaction, occupational stress, professional commitment, role conflict and role ambiguity were utilized in the subject search in combination with nurses following guidelines for searching the OVID interface. The abstracts or full texts of research papers were reviewed prior to their inclusion in the review according to inclusion criteria and quality assessment using the Strobe guidelines.

Results: A total of 59 papers were included in this review. The impact of job satisfaction upon sickness absence, turnover intention, as well as the influencing factors of job satisfaction such as working shift and leadership, job performance, organizational commitment, effort and reward style has been identified in a number of research studies yielding equivocal findings. Job satisfaction of hospital nurses is closely related to work environment, structural empowerment, organizational commitment, professional commitment, job stress, patient satisfaction, patient-nurse ratios, social capital, evidence-based practice and ethnic background. Various mediating or moderating pathways have been identified with nurses’ job satisfaction being mediated by various factors.

Conclusions: It is vital to increase nurses’ job satisfaction because this has the potential both to improve patients' perceptions of care quality and ensure an adequate nursing workforce. The indirect relationships and predictors of job satisfaction contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the complex phenomenon of job satisfaction, which in turn may aid the development of effective strategies to address the nursing shortage and increase the quality of patient care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Early online date10 Feb 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2019


  • Influencing factor
  • Job satisfaction
  • Mediator
  • Nurses
  • Predictor
  • Related factor


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