Practice environments and their associations with nurse-reported outcomes in Belgian hospitals: development and preliminary validation of a Dutch adaptation of the Revised Nursing Work Index

Peter Van Bogaert, Sean Clarke, Karel Vermeyen, Herman Meulemans, Paul Van de Heyning
International Journal of Nursing Studies 2009, 46 (1): 54-64

AIM: To study the relationship between nurse work environment, job outcomes and nurse-assessed quality of care in the Belgian context.

BACKGROUND: Work environment characteristics are important for attracting and retaining professional nurses in hospitals. The Revised Nursing Work Index (NWI-R) was originally designed to describe the professional nurse work environment in U.S. Magnet Hospitals and subsequently has been extensively used in research internationally.

METHOD: The NWI-R was translated into Dutch to measure the nurse work environment in 155 nurses across 13 units in three Belgian hospitals. Factor analysis was used to identify a set of coherent subscales. The relationship between work environments and job outcomes and nurse-assessed quality of care was investigated using logistic and linear regression analyses.

RESULTS: Three reliable, consistent and meaningful subscales of the NWI-R were identified: nurse-physician relations, nurse management at the unit level and hospital management and organizational support. All three subscales had significant associations with several outcome variables. Nurse-physician relations had a significant positive association with nurse job satisfaction, intention to stay the hospital, the nurse-assessed unit level quality of care and personal accomplishment. Nurse management at the unit level had a significant positive association with the nurse job satisfaction, nurse-assessed quality of care on the unit and in the hospital, and personal accomplishment. Hospital management and organizational support had a significant positive association with the nurse-assessed quality of care in the hospital and personal accomplishment. Higher ratings of nurse-physician relations and nurse management at the unit level had significant negative associations with both the Maslach Burnout Inventory emotional exhaustion and depersonalization dimensions, whereas hospital management and organizational support was inversely associated only with depersonalization scores.

CONCLUSION: A Dutch version of the NWI-R questionnaire produced comparable subscales to those found by many other researchers internationally. The resulting measures of the professional practice environment in Belgian hospitals showed expected relationships with nurse self-reports of job outcomes and perceptions of hospital quality.

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