Extrinsic and intrinsic work values: their impact on job satisfaction in nursing

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The aim of this study was to identify the intrinsic and extrinsic work values that were perceived by the members of the Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) in Queensland, Australia, to influence job satisfaction.


The current shortage of nurses in Australia has been the focus of many recent studies and national inquiries. This shortage is experienced internationally in both developed and developing nations. Few studies, however, have examined the results of surveys from the model of intrinsic and extrinsic work values and their impact on job satisfaction.


Following a pilot study, a questionnaire was posted to 2800 assistants-in-nursing, enrolled and Registered Nurses in October 2001, who were members of the QNU. The sampling of nurses was undertaken from three sectors – public, private and aged care and therefore the results are reported separately for these three sectors. A total of 1477 nurses responded to the survey, equating to a total overall response rate of 53%. It should be noted that the study was limited to members of the QNU, and therefore does not represent nurses who are not members of the Union.


The results show that intrinsic and extrinsic work values do impact upon job satisfaction and therefore intention to leave employment. The results also indicate that work stress was high and morale was low and decreasing.


The findings of this study give some indication of what should be included in a nursing workforce planning strategy, the need for which in Australia is ‘fundamental and urgent’ (Senate Community Affairs References Committee 2002, p. xiii). The findings of this study also suggest that a ‘one size fits all’ solution across sectors will not work.

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