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Nursing Values and a Changing Nurse Workforce: Values, Age, and Job Stages

McNeese-Smith, Donna K. EdD, RN, CNAA; Crook, Mary MN, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: May 2003 - Volume 33 - Issue 5 - p 260-270

Objectives To identify the extent values are associated with age group and job stage; job satisfaction, productivity, and organizational commitment; as well as education, generation, ethnicity, gender, and role.

Background Values direct the priorities we live by and are related to employee loyalty and commitment. Lack of congruency between a nurse’s personal values and those of the organization decrease satisfaction and effectiveness and may lead to burnout and turnover. Little research has been done on whether values differ by age, generations, or job stages.

Methods Nurses in all roles (N = 412) in three hospitals in Los Angeles County were randomly surveyed, using valid and reliable instruments to measure the variables of interest.

Results Nurses in the top third for job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and productivity showed higher scores for many values including their associates, creativity, esthetics, and management, while those in the bottom third scored higher in economic returns only. Nurses in different generations differed little; younger generations placed higher values on economic returns and variety.

Conclusions and implications Management strategies to meet nurses’ values and increase their satisfaction and retention are presented.

Authors’ affiliations: Associate Professor and Coordinator, Nursing Administration Program (Dr McNeese-Smith), Director of Nursing/Health Sciences (Ms Crook), Santa Ana College, University of California, Los Angeles, Calif.

Corresponding author: Donna McNeese-Smith, EdD, RN, CNAA, Associate Professor and Coordinator, Nursing Administration Program, School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, Box 956917, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6917 (

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.