Background: Long-term care facilities nationwide are finding it difficult to train and retain sufficient numbers of nursing assistants, resulting in a dire staffing situation. Researchers, managers, and practitioners alike have been trying to determine the correlates of job satisfaction to address this increasingly untenable situation. One factor that has received little empirical attention in the long-term care literature is cultural competence. Cultural competence is defined as a set of skills, attitudes, behaviors, and policies that enable organizations and staff to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
Purpose: To examine organizational cultural competence as perceived by nursing assistants and determine if this was related to differences in job satisfaction across countries of origin and racio-ethnic groups.
Methods: Primary data collected from a cross-section of 135 nursing assistants at four New England nursing homes. Demographics, perceptions of organizational cultural competence, and ratings of job satisfaction were collected. A multivariate, generalized linear model was used to assess predictors of job satisfaction. A secondary analysis was then conducted to identify the most important components of organizational cultural competency.
Results: Perception of organizational cultural competence (p = .0005) and autonomy (p = .001) were the strongest predictors of job satisfaction among nursing assistants; as these increase, job satisfaction also increases. Neither country of origin nor racio-ethnicity was associated with job satisfaction, but racio-ethnicity was associated with perceived organizational cultural competence (p = .05). A comfortable work environment for employees of different races/cultures emerged as the strongest organizational cultural competency factor (p = .04).
Recommendations: Developing and maintaining organizational cultural competency and employee autonomy are important managerial strategies for increasing job satisfaction and improving staff retention. Toward this end, creating a comfortable work environment for employees of different races/cultures is an integral part of the process. Managerial recommendations are discussed.