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New Zealand nurses’ reports on hospital care: An international comparison

Mary Finlayson, RN, PhD, MCNA(NZ) Associate Professor, University of Auckland, New Zealand  Linda Aiken, RN, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, Claire M. Fagin Professor in Nursing, Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, United States   Ivana Nakarada-Kordic, MSc, Research Assistant, University of Auckland, New Zealand  

Finlayson, M., Aiken, L., & Nakarada-Kordic, I. (2007). New Zealand nurses’ reports on hospital care: An international comparison. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 23(1), 17-28.  

Abstract  

Despite the differences in health care systems, nursing shortages and their contributing factors and consequences no longer seem to be solely country-specific. The present study replicated a cross-national study of nurses’ perceptions of staffing, work organisation and outcomes conducted in more than 700 hospitals in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, and Germany (Aiken et al., 2001). This paper compares the 2001 New Zealand findings with the findings of the fivecountry study.  New Zealand nurses report similar shortcomings in their work environment as do the nurses in countries with distinctly different health care systems. While they report similar high levels of competence and good relations between doctors and nurses as the respondents in the other five countries, higher numbers of New Zealand nurses 30 years of age or younger report their intention to leave their current jobs. New Zealand nurses also report the highest levels of job related stress, high levels of job dissatisfaction, and more than half report receiving inadequate organisational support. The implications of these findings are discussed in light of recent changes in the hospital environment.  

Key Words: Nurses’ work environment and organisation, quality of care, workforce management, International Hospital Outcomes Study.  

Introduction  

At a time of nursing shortage, hospitals in New Zealand, as in other countries, are facing serious challenges in their bid to provide high quality care for their patients. Issues attracting public, political and professional attention include: waiting times, patient safety, staffing levels and the loss of expensively educated health professionals either to the international market or from the health sector entirely (Budge, Carryer, & Wood, 2003; Stone et al., 2003).  

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