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Nursing takes place in a working community and the working community influences the quality of nursing. The purpose of this study was to find out the effects of nurses' individual characteristics, working conditions, and the ward sisters' management skills on working climate and team spirit. Thirty-seven wards of two Finnish hospitals took part in the study, and 717 nurses answered the questionnaire. Statistical analyses indicate that the ward sister's management skill is the best predictor of the climate and team spirit of the wards as perceived by nurses. The nurses' age, education, and working experience have no direct effect on the working community. Nurses who work by the day, who have plenty of further education and permanent employment, are most likely to be dissatisfied with the climate. According to the results, it is important that the ward sister provides sufficient opportunities for professional development, especially for those who are highly motivated to advance their careers. The ward sister can influence the ward's team spirit also by furthering operational preconditions of the ward.