Journal article

Institutional effects on nurses’ working conditions: a multi-group comparison of public and private non-profit and for-profit healthcare employers in Switzerland

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  • Human Resources for Health. - 2018, vol. 16, no. 58, p. 1-10
English Background: In response to the need for competitive recruitment of nurses resulting from the worldwide nursing shortage, employers need to attract and retain nurses by promoting their competitive strengths in their working conditions (WCS) and by addressing their competitive weaknesses. This study investigated workplace differences between public hospitals (PuHs), private for-profit hospitals (PrHs), socio- medical institutions (SOMEDs), home care services (HCs), private medical offices (PrOs) and non-profit organisations (NPOs), helping to provide a foundation for competition-oriented institutional employer branding and to increase transparency in the labour market for nurses. Methods: Data from the Swiss Nurses at Work study of the career paths of 11 232 nurses who worked in Switzerland between 1970 and 2014 were subjected to secondary analysis, assessing the effect of institutional characteristics on self-reported determinants of job satisfaction (such as WCS) using multivariate linear regression and post hoc tests with Bonferroni-adjusted significance levels. Principal component analysis was used to reduce the number of WCS in the original study. Results: Nurses at PuHs and PrHs were less likely to experience autonomy, flexibility of work hours and participation in decision-making than those at other workplaces. Although PuHs were rated higher than PrHs in terms of satisfaction with salary and advancement opportunities, they were associated with more alienating work factors, such as stress and aggression. SOMED workplaces were significantly more often associated with alienating conditions and low job satisfaction, but were rated higher than the other institutions in terms of participation in decision-making. The nurses’ ratings implied that PrO workplaces were more likely to offer a mild work environment, social support and recognition than other institutions, but that advancement opportunities were limited. NPO workplaces were associated with the highest degree of autonomy, flexibility, participation, recognition, organisational commitment and job satisfaction. In these respects, HC and NPO workplaces received similar ratings, although the HC workplaces were associated with a significantly lower organisational commitment and significantly lower job satisfaction. Conclusions: Due to their structural characteristics, NPOs, SOMEDs and HCs can attract nurses seeking greater self-determination, PuHs can attract career-oriented nurses, and PrOs and PrHs are likely to attract nurses through offering less-stressful working conditions.
Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales et du management
Institut pour la gestion des associations, des fondations et des sociétés coopératives (VMI)
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