How happy are you at your job?

Across the board, studies reveal that the majority of nurse managers (70% to 95%) experience a high level of satisfaction on the job.

Nevertheless, there are those who suffer from burnout, stress and tense relationships with physicians and administrators. Even here at ENSEARCH, we field occasional complaints (e.g., “it’s a thankless job”) from our NNP manager clients. 


Why nurse managers enjoy their jobs

Let’s start with the good news. Studies show that nurse managers cite the following factors as reasons why they love their jobs:


1. Supervisor support and feedback

NNP managers want to feel a sense of meaning and feeling valued on the job. Thus, those who receive adequate and appropriate feedback from, and communication with, supervisors are shown to experience higher levels of job satisfaction.


2. Empowerment 

Nurse manager who are structurally and psychologically empowered and have resources to do their job also reported significantly higher levels of job satisfaction.


3. Opportunities for professional development

Managers consider development important and are more satisfied when they have opportunities for educational development and job training.


4. Autonomy and decision-making

Nurse managers enjoy a sense of connection and satisfaction when able to participate in decision-making.


5. Power

Power is significantly and positively correlated to job satisfaction. Nurse managers who are encouraged to use their own judgment and use that to enact change and positively impact their staff are known to demonstrate increased job satisfaction.


How you can achieve even more satisfaction on the job

Many of the factors above are dependent on external sources. If you are a nurse manager lucky enough to work with a supportive administration, chances are you are already feeling empowered and happy on the job. 

Nevertheless, there are still a number of steps you can take, on your own, to increase your level of satisfaction on the job.


1. Don’t spread yourself too thin

If you’re like most NNP managers, you have difficulty saying no to random tasks and requests that fall into your wheelhouse.

Why? Because you want to please; you’d feel guilty if you didn’t; you don’t want to let others down.

But this additional work will take a toll on you and your performance— you’ll exhaust yourself; you’ll brush aside other, more important work. Your final accomplishments will fall below standard.

Taking on surprise tasks and unscheduled work is always a risk. In the end, something’s got to give. So be prepared to say no to work that could easily be shouldered by a co-worker or nurse.


2. Become an exemplary role model

Whether or not you feel supported by upper management, you have the power to lead your team and take pride in their continued development. By instilling a communal culture of trust and goodwill, your staff will noticeably thrive and you will be recognized for this achievement. Here are a few tips for getting there: 

  • Change your mindset: As a manager, you are no longer an individual contributor. Which means you need to refocus your mindset and work to boost the job satisfaction and success of your team. Helping your staff grow and prosper will give you a greater sense of purpose and happiness.
  • Practice consistency: Treat your team fairly and hold each of them equally accountable for their responsibilities (i.e., don’t play favorites!). Some staff members may not agree with you all of the time, but they will respect you if you maintain consistency and fairness.
  • Ask for input: It’s difficult seeking out constructive feedback and criticism. But you’ll be surprised at what you will accomplish by doing so. Yes, you may learn about your weaknesses (and how to fix them), but you could also be pleasantly surprised by unanticipated praise and commendations!


3. Get down to business

Your job is a business and it’s up to you to manage it. So if at your current facility, there are no firm systems in place for monitoring and harnessing your potential, it’s your job to set and chart your own career path.

  • Find a coach: Yes, even nurse managers hire career coaches. Why not? Your future is worth it. Together, you and your coach can set measurable goals for both your near-term and long-term success.
  •  Join an association: Again, finding support is monumental to your well-being and success. Engaging and sharing with peers in your industry offers you a chance to vent and gain healthy perspectives. You’ll sense a feeling of kinship, brainstorming and commiserating with others in your industry and job role.


4. Have fun 

Oftentimes, the general temperament of your staff can be traced directly back to your own. So, if you don’t like what you’re seeing, you may want to take a look in the mirror. Despite the inordinate amount of responsibility you carry, you’re allowed to let loose and have fun sometimes. It’s healthy for you and healthy for your team. Try it!


How do you sustain satisfaction and happiness on the job? Please share your tips in the comments section below!