|dc.description.abstract||An exploratory, descriptive questionnaire survey was conducted in wards
providing continuing care for elderly people, to describe nursing staff
perceptions of ward culture and its relation to job satisfaction. The study was
designed to answer three principal research questions:
1. To what extent are management practices in geriatric long stay wards
perceived as participative (open) by nursing staff?
2. Is the degree of ward openness positively associated with nursing staff
levels of job satisfaction?
3. Are perceptions of ward openness and levels of job satisfaction related to
nursing staff grade?
Study participants were recruited from 79 wards in two mainland health
boards to provide a stratified random sample of 474 nursing staff, comprising
first level nurses, second level nurses and nursing auxiliaries.
The study was based on a communication rules approach to understanding
organisational culture. Likert's (1961) description of a hypothetical 'participative
group' management system, where there was free flow of information,
participative decision-making and high job satisfaction levels was used to
develop a 30-item 'Communication Rules' questionnaire to assess nursing staff
perceptions of management 'openness' in geriatric long stay wards. Quinn and
Staines' (1979) Facet Free Job Satisfaction Test was used to assess levels of job
satisfaction among ward nursing staff and the relationships between staff grade,
perceptions of openness and job satisfaction were explored. Ward members
mean 'openness' and mean 'job satisfaction' scores were used to provide simple
indices of 'ward openness' and 'ward satisfaction' in order to explore differences
The majority of wards were perceived as open; the score differences
between those wards with the highest and those with the lowest openness
indices were statistically significant. A positive association was found between
ward openness and staff job satisfaction. Further, ratings of openness and levels
of job satisfaction correlated positively with respondents' reports of the
frequency of 'good days', negatively with 'bad days'. Openness ratings and levels
of job satisfaction were also associated with nursing staff grade.
Through advances in organisation theory that include 'culture' concepts,
the 'communication rules approach' provided new insights about nursing staff
perceptions of ward openness and its relation to levels of job satisfaction.
Further, in-depth research on the relationship between ward openness and
nursing staff job satisfaction is recommended. The implications of the study for
information sharing, decision-making, change management, education and
nursing practice are considered. It is recommended that the findings should be
used to guide future approaches to nursing management and skill development
in the nursing care of elderly people in long stay wards.||en