The relationship between UK hospital nurse staffing and emotional exhaustion and job dissatisfaction

Louisa Sheward, Jennifer Hunt, Suzanne Hagen, Margaret McLeod, Jane Ball

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Aim  To explore the relationship between nurse outcomes (dissatisfaction and emotional exhaustion) and nurse workload, nurse characteristics and hospital variables.
Background  Concern about the impact of restructuring of nurse staffing, and reports of nurse shortages, on nurse and patient outcomes led to the research being reported on in this article.
Methods  A questionnaire survey of registered nurses in Scotland and England. A questionnaire survey of the hospitals in which these nurses worked.

Results  Respondents in the two countries were similar in terms of demographic, work and employment characteristics. Significant relationships were found using the combined English and Scottish data between nurse patient ratios and (1) emotional exhaustion and (2) dissatisfaction with current job reported by nurses.

Conclusions  Increasing numbers of patients to nurses was associated with increasing risk of emotional exhaustion and dissatisfaction with current job.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005



  • nursing
  • outcomes
  • staffing
  • survey

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