Surgical Patient Satisfaction as an Outcome of Nurses’ Caring Behaviors: A Descriptive and Correlational Study in Six European Countries

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Theoretically, patient satisfaction is correlated with nursing care, but there is not sufficient evidence to support it. The aim of this study was to address three research questions: (a) What is the correlation between caring as perceived by patients and patient satisfaction? (b) Are there differences across various countries on the correlation on caring as perceived by patients and patient satisfaction? (c) Do caring behaviors affect patient satisfaction?


A multicenter correlational design was adopted involving surgical patients from six European countries: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Finland, Hungary, and Italy.


A convenience sample of 1,565 patients was recruited in autumn 2009. The short version of the Caring Behaviours Inventory (CBI; 24 items) and Patient Satisfaction Scale (PSS; 11 items) were used. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, as well as correlation analysis and stepwise multiple regression, to examine relations between caring behaviors and patient satisfaction.


According to the patients involved, nurses performed caring behaviors between very frequently (score = 5) and always (score = 6). Patient satisfaction with nursing care was also high, between satisfied (score = 3) and very satisfied (score = 4). A positive correlation emerged between CBI and PPS (r= 0.66, p < .01) ranging between countries from 0.27 to 0.85 (Czech Republic r= 0.27, Cyprus r= 0.76, Finland r= 0.71, Greece r= 0.85, Hungary r= 0.63, and Italy r= 0.45 [p < .01]). Among the CBI dimensions, “connectedness” mainly explains patient satisfaction (R2= 0.404, p < .001), followed by “assurance” (R2= 0.032, p < .001) and “respectful” (R2= 0.005, p < .001).


Caring behaviors enacted by nurses determine a consistent proportion of patient satisfaction. This association between them suggests several implications for nursing education, practice, and management.

Clinical Relevance:

The results may be utilized by policymakers, nurse ward managers, nurse educators, and clinical nurses as a background for taking appropriate measures to improve nursing care provided, thereby enhancing patient satisfaction.

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