Aims: This systematic review aimed to synthesize and analyse the studies that examined the relationship between nurse empowerment and job satisfaction in the nursing work environment.
Background: Job dissatisfaction in the nursing work environment is the primary cause of nursing turnover. Job satisfaction has been linked to a high level of empowerment in nurses.
Evaluation: We reviewed 596 articles, written in English, that examined the relationship between structural empowerment, psychological empowerment and nurses' job satisfaction. Twelve articles were included in the final analysis.
Key issue: A significant positive relation was found between empowerment and nurses' job satisfaction. Structural empowerment and psychological empowerment affect job satisfaction differently.
Conclusion: A satisfying work environment for nurses is related to structural and psychological empowerment in the workplace. Structural empowerment is an antecedent of psychological empowerment and this relationship culminates in positive retention outcomes such as job satisfaction.
Implication for nursing management: This review could be useful for guiding leaders' strategies to develop and maintain an empowering work environment that enhances job satisfaction. This could lead to nurse retention and positive organisational and patient outcomes.
Leadership is critical in building quality work environments, implementing new models of care, and bringing health and wellbeing to a strained nursing workforce. However, the nature of leadership style, how leadership should be enacted, and its associated outcomes requires further research and understanding. We aimed to examine the relationships between various styles of leadership and outcomes for the nursing workforce and their work environments.
The search strategy of this systematic review included 10 electronic databases. Published, quantitative studies that examined the correlations between leadership behaviours and nursing outcomes were included. Quality assessments, data extractions and analysis were completed on all included studies by independent reviewers.
A total of 50,941 titles and abstracts were screened resulting in 129 included studies. Using content analysis, 121 outcomes were grouped into six categories: 1) staff satisfaction with job factors, 2) staff relationships with work, 3) staff health & wellbeing, 4) relations among staff, 5) organizational environment factors and 6) productivity & effectiveness. Our analysis illuminated patterns between relational and task focused leadership styles and their outcomes for nurses and nursing work environments. For example, 52 studies reported that relational leadership styles were associated with higher nurse job satisfaction, whereas 16 studies found that task-focused leadership styles were associated with lower nurse job satisfaction. Similar trends were found for each category of outcomes.
The findings of this systematic review provide strong support for the employment of relational leadership styles to promote positive nursing workforce outcomes and related organizational outcomes. Leadership focused solely on task completion is insufficient to achieve optimum outcomes for the nursing workforce. Relational leadership practices need to be encouraged and supported by individuals and organizations to enhance nursing job satisfaction, retention, work environment factors and individual productivity within healthcare settings.