The influence of organization tenure on nurses’ perceptions of multiple work process improvement initiatives

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Abstract

Background:

A nurse’s optimism or skepticism toward an organization-mandated change initiative largely depends on their experience with similar change initiatives and their unit’s and organization’s track record with previous change efforts. Thus, depending on the context, organization tenure can work in favor or against any particular change initiative. However, few studies have examined the impact of organization tenure on perceptions toward change initiatives. The few studies that have been conducted have yielded mixed results and have only targeted single or similar work initiatives.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to examine how organization tenure impacts nurses’ perceptions toward a diverse array of work process improvement initiatives.

Methodology:

The data are derived from a survey of 421 medical-surgical nurses representing 41 units across four hospitals. The survey was designed to capture nurses’ perceptions toward three change initiatives—AIDET (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, and Thank You), hourly rounding, and discharge phone calls—and their impact across two subscales—patient care and individual work change.

Findings:

Organization tenure is significantly and negatively associated with change receptivity for the non-patient safety-oriented initiative (AIDET). This negative relationship dissipates as we evaluate more patient safety-oriented work process initiatives (hourly rounding and discharge phone calls).

Practice Implications:

Significant differences in nurses’ perceptions toward change do exist depending on how long they have worked for their employer. For non-patient safety-oriented change initiatives, veteran-to-the-organization nurses may exhibit more recalcitrance than their new-to-the-organization counterparts. However, our findings also suggest the presence of a patient safety exception rule where veteran-to-the-organization nurses do not exhibit differences in opinion than their new-to-the-organization counterparts for patient safety-oriented change initiatives.

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