The effects of structural and psychological empowerment on perceived respect in acute care nurses

Jayne Faulkner, Heather Laschinger
Journal of Nursing Management 2008, 16 (2): 214-21

BACKGROUND: The recruitment and retention crisis has catalyzed interest in workplace empowerment for nurses. Many nurses feel that they do not receive the respect they deserve in hospital settings; however, there are few systematic studies of respect for nurses.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between structural and psychological empowerment and their effects on hospital nurses' perceptions of respect.

METHOD: A secondary analysis was conducted of data from a larger study of 500 randomly selected hospital staff nurses. A predictive, non-experimental survey design was used to test a hypothesized model derived from Kanter's Work Empowerment Theory.

RESULTS: Both structural and psychological variables were significant independent predictors of respect, although structural empowerment had considerably greater explanatory power.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings support Kanter's theory. Hospital nurses who perceive themselves to be structurally and psychologically empowered are more likely to feel respected in the workplace.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT: Changing workplace structures is within the mandate of nurse managers in their roles as advocates for and facilitators of high-quality care. Nurse managers have the influence and resources to facilitate empowering work conditions that can increase nurses' feelings of being respected. In addition, promoting collaborative inter-professional and intra-professional relationships and assuring continuous support to nurses are particularly important strategies for building respect.

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