Are you satisfied with your job? The answer may not be as simple as you would think. Satisfaction with your job can be based on a multitude of complex factors that may or may not have crossed your mind. There are numerous ways to measure job satisfaction.

Fredrick Herzberg was known as the “Father of Job Enrichment”. He studied what makes people feel good about their jobs as well as what contributes to workers feeling frustrated or unhappy with their jobs. His theory, known as Motivation-Hygiene Theory or Two-Factor Theory, is one of the most thoroughly-researched theories of motivation in human relations.

Although we normally link satisfaction and dissatisfaction as being opposite of one another, Herzberg’s theory presented a different perspective. According to the theory, there is not an opposition between dissatisfaction and satisfaction (Herzberg 2010). For example, just because employees are not dissatisfied with their job does not mean that they are satisfied. It simply implies what it is — no job dissatisfaction.

Factors that produce job satisfaction –Motivator Factors

  • accomplishment
  • the actual work itself
  • growth
  • responsibility
  • acknowledgement
  • recognition

Motivators that lead to job satisfaction will allow the individual to satisfy needs for self- actualization (Herzberg 2010, p.114). People need to feel a sense of personal growth, accomplishment, and recognition through their work. When employees feel that their work is worthwhile, they will want to grow and contribute. When employees feel satisfied with their work, they are more likely to be motivated.

Hygiene Factors, also known as Maintenance Factors, are connected to the work environment. These needs are driven by the human need to avoid pain. Hygiene Factors, when present merely create a state of no job dissatisfaction (Herzberg, 2010). Yet, the absence of these factors in the work environment can lead to dissatisfaction.

  • policies
  • administration
  • supervision
  • relationships
  • security
  • salary
  • personal life
  • work conditions

It is important to understand various characteristics of job satisfaction in order to determine if there is a good fit between the employee and the organization. In addition, knowing what you need to be happy with a job can determine questions to consider when preparing for interviews for future jobs, negotiating contracts, and pursuing avenues for career growth and development.
According to Herzberg’s theory, one’s profession is what provides for a feeling of accomplishment and competence. Autonomy in the workplace is an important part of practicing at one’s full potential (Paseron, 2013).

Are you working to your full potential?

Herzberg claimed that factors that produce job satisfaction are motivator factors. These elements are paramount for happiness in the workplace. They include features such as accomplishment, the actual work itself, growth, responsibility, acknowledgment, and recognition.
In terms of practice, do you know what restrictions exist in terms of scope of practice? Are there administrative barriers that exist in the institution that could interfere with job satisfaction?
Who do you report to?

Some studies report a greater degree of job dissatisfaction when NNPs report to nursing administration (Paseron, 2013). Others show that NNPs are more satisfied when they report to the medical team (Beal, Steven, & Quinn 1987). It is important to know who you are expected to report to, who will do your evaluation, and what the chain of command is.
Does the administrative team understand the APN role? How many APNS are working in the institution? It is important to know that you are supported by administration and that there will be an opportunity for professional growth.

Do you have control in scheduling your time off?

Work-life balance is very important to maintaining job satisfaction. Maintaining a healthy work environment is key to preventing burnout, stress, and dissatisfaction. It is important to have some flexibility with scheduling to allow for rest and relaxation between shifts.
NICUs may or may not cover 24/7. It is important to understand what the expectations of coverage are and whether you have choices in the shift duration and time. Most NNPs work 12 or 24-hour shifts. Night shift rotation and how that occurs could be important in choosing a job.

Are you collaborating?

Collaboration has been defined as a process where two or more people work together toward a common goal. Sometimes results are better when there are decentralization and egalitarianism (Bosque, 2011). It is important to ask questions about the collaborative environment of a workplace. How do the neonatologists view the role of the NNP? Are there collaborative efforts between the neonatal team and consultants? What role does the NNP play in nursing education? How do nurses view the advance practice role?

Unfortunately, the scope of practice for APNs varies from state to state. If you are thinking about moving to another state, it is important to understand regulations for NNPs in that state. Does that state grant full practice authority or are there restrictions? Scope of practice and autonomy are linked to job satisfaction. If you have been practicing in a state without restrictions and relocate to a state with a more restrictive practice you may need to consider how this could affect your work.

So how does this relate to you? Whether you are looking for a new job, renegotiating a contract, or trying to reignite your attitude about your current job, it is important to understand what you need to fuel your passion. What is it that will make you love going to work? It is also necessary to understand yourself and what your needs are in terms of growth and development. What are your short and long-term goals in relation to your professional life?

In addition, what are the factors that you need to keep you from becoming frustrated and ultimately dissatisfied? We often think that a good salary and a flexible work schedule are paramount to maintaining a balanced life. While those aspects need to be given consideration and are very important, additionally there needs to be something about a job that inspires, keeps you going, and fuels your engine.

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