Survey Finds 45% of Hospital Employees Discontented, Disengaged

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Nearly half—45%—of hospital employees say they're disengaged, disempowered, and unhappy on the job, with younger workers, and those at the patients' bedside expressing the most discontent, according to the 2010 Hospital Pulse Report: Employee and Nurse Perspectives on American Health Care  from Press Ganey Associates.

The survey, representing responses from more than 235,000 employees at nearly 400 U.S. hospitals, also found that:

  • There is a generation gap when it comes to both employee satisfaction. Employees born in 1945 or earlier tend to be the most satisfied while younger employees are the least satisfied. Both Gen Y and Gen X employees have a greater need to receive recognition, to be included in decisions, and to communicate with hospital administration.
  • There is a strong correlation between patient satisfaction and employee partnership. Hospitals that can provide the best environment for employees will be rewarded with better patient care.

The alienation of a considerable percentage of staff comes as hospitals across the nation contemplate the launch of integrated and patient-centered care programs. Deirdre Mylod, vice president, hospital services, at Press Ganey, said low morale hampers the delivery of high-quality care.

Instead of focusing solely on employee needs, such as pay, benefits, or daily work issues, Mylod said partnerships are created when employees are both satisfied and engaged. She said the survey suggests that hospitals focus on creating an environment where employees feel an emotional bond with colleagues as well as with the overall organization.

"We found hospital employees want to be recognized for excellent work, but they also want to be involved in the decision-making process and have the opportunity to provide input on issues directly affecting their work, so they feel empowered to do their jobs," Mylod said. "It is critical for hospitals to take considerations like these into account when planning employee relations initiatives."