Nurses at nonprofit nursing homes are happier with their jobs

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Apr 14, 2012 in Nursing Home Information

Choosing a nursing home has never been more challenging. Unfortunately, there is no way to be absolutely certain that a loved one will receive the quality of care he or she deserves before being placed in a given facility. All family members can do is the necessary homework and then choose the nursing home that seems best.

The "homework" we're talking about here typically involves online research, visiting potential nursing home options at least twice, asking questions of staff members and residents, being observant about the general atmosphere, cleanliness, staffing levels and orderliness of a facility, and reviewing the nursing home's most recent state inspection reports.

Something else to consider is whether the nursing homes you're looking at are operated as nonprofit or for-profit enterprises. Why is this important?

Before answering that question, we should first point out that there are nonprofit nursing homes that provide a deplorable level of care and commercially operated nursing homes that provide excellent care. In other words, choosing a nonprofit nursing home doesn't guarantee quality care.

That being said -- most studies have found that patients receive better care at nonprofit facilities. While previous research efforts have not pinpointed an exact reason for this discrepancy, the results of a new study suggest that job satisfaction may play a particularly important role.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas' School of Nursing and involved a survey of almost 900 register nurses working at 300 different skilled nursing care facilities in a single eastern state. What they found was that the R.N.s employed at nonprofit nursing homes had significantly more job satisfaction than R.N.s employed at commercial nursing homes.

Although this particular study did not look at whether more job satisfaction translated into less staff turnover, it takes no great leap to assume that nurses who feel better about their jobs are less likely to leave their positions for other employment. Having a low staff turnover, by extension, would likely provide patients with a greater sense of stability, decrease the likelihood of nursing and medication mistakes, and lead to better outcomes for the residents nurses have come to know over time.

Source: The New York Times, "Happier Staffers at Nonprofit Nursing Homes," Paula Span, Jan. 4, 2012

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