Nurses’ Psychosocial Work Environment A case study in a large Swedish hospital

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Paju, Emma
Ljungberg, Olivia
During the last couple of years, the turnover rate of nurses leaving Swedish hospitals has increased. This in combination with the fact that before 2026, 38 900 new nurses need to be employed in order to handle Sweden’s population that only gets older and older creates a difficult situation. The healthcare also struggles with many of their nurses ending up on sick leave due to a poor psychosocial work environment. Hence, the psychosocial work environment needs to be improved to lower the turnover of nurses and reduce the sick leave in order for Swedish healthcare to reach Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting’s goal. The empirical findings of this study consist of interviews with nurses at one healthcare department and leaders at seven different departments at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. Furthermore, data was also collected from survey answers provided from the HRstrategy-department at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. The findings include an understanding of how organisational structure and social support impact nurses’ psychosocial health at a healthcare department. Additionally, these findings were analysed with the help of an analysis model which was constructed from combining Self-Determination Theory with Rubenowitz’s job satisfaction model. The result of the study showed an issue in terms of an organisational structure since there are no natural development paths in the profession. This generates a low feeling of work satisfaction and may lead to that the nurses have to leave the department in order to develop in their profession. Another identified problematic aspect is the nurses’ feeling of the leaders not always listening to them, which might depend on leaders’ high workload. This may occur due to the fact that the leaders are responsible for a large number of employees. Moreover, the leaders seem to aim to be transformational leaders. However, the hospital environment seems to make it difficult to act as a transformational leader and, instead, the leaders act towards a transactional leadership style. In addition, the nurses have a strong feeling of relatedness among themselves. However, it may occur because many parts of the psychosocial environment are lacking, and the nurses feel the need to compensate for this and perceive this feeling as stronger. To conclude, the recommendations for future improvements are: (1) create opportunities for development and growth, (2) ensure feedback from leaders and (3) standardise routines for suggestions of improvements, (4) clarify how the nurses are expected to prioritise, (5) clarify how the leaders are expected to prioritise, (6) clarify what is expected from the nurses, (7) clarify what is expected from the leaders and (8) create room in the lead role to be a present leader.
Produktion, Transport, Grundläggande vetenskaper, Hållbar utveckling, Övrig industriell teknik och ekonomi, Production, Transport, Basic Sciences, Sustainable Development, Other industrial engineering and economics
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