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The Impact of Environmental Factors on Nursing Stress, Job Satisfaction, and Turnover Intention

Applebaum, Diane DrPH, RN, CIC; Fowler, Susan PhD, RN, CNRN; Fiedler, Nancy PhD, MA; Osinubi, Omowunmi MD, MSc, MBA, FRCA; Robson, Mark PhD, MPH

Journal of Nursing Administration: July-August 2010 - Volume 40 - Issue 7/8 - p 323-328
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181e9393b

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate relationships between environmental factors of odor, noise, light, and color and perceived stress, job satisfaction, and turnover intention.

Background: The physical work environment may positively or negatively influence nurses' stress, and stress may negatively impact their job satisfaction and intention to change jobs.

Methods: The research questions were answered using a descriptive, correlational design. The sample (n = 116) consisted of medical-surgical nurses working in acute-care settings. A 36-item questionnaire addressed odor, noise, light, color, perceived stress, job satisfaction, and turnover intention.

Results: Significant relationships were found between noise and perceived stress, perceived stress and job satisfaction, job satisfaction and turnover intention, and perceived stress and turnover intention.

Conclusions: Nurses tend to overlook their physical environment and "do their job." Common environmental stressors in the work environment can be stressful to staff and influence job satisfaction and, ultimately, intention to change jobs. Mitigating or eliminating these environmental factors has the potential to improve staff satisfaction and retention. Stress influences nursing job satisfaction and, ultimately, intention to change jobs.

Authors' Affiliations: Director (Dr Applebaum), Medical Specialty Unit, Hunterdon Medical Center Flemington, New Jersey; Manager (Dr Fowler), Clinical Nursing Research, Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, Red Bank, New Jersey; Professor (Dr Fiedler), University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway; Occupational & Environmental Physician (Dr Osinubi), Occupational & Environmental Health Associates, Somerset, New Jersey; Dean of Agricultural and Urban Programs (Dr Robson), Professor of Entomology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick.

Corresponding author: Dr Applebaum, Hunterdon Medical Center, 2100 Wescott Dr, Flemington, NJ 08822 (

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.