Aims: (1) To understand nurses' subjective perceptions of the current nursing workforce in their emergency departments, (2) to examine the relationship between nurses' workforce perceptions and its impact on the managerial outcomes and (3) to analyse the correlation between nurses' characteristics and the scores on workforce perception. Background: While the association between workforce perceptions and nurse outcomes is well-documented, few studies have examined how emergency department nurses perceive current workforce and related outcomes. Design: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Method: A self-reported workforce perception questionnaire was used to survey 538 registered nurses in the emergency departments of 19 hospitals in northern Taiwan, during May to October 2006. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, chi-square test, independent t-test, Pearson correlation and one-way anova. Results: The mean score of workforce perception was 6·28 points (total = 10 points). Both overtime (p = 0·02) and number of callbacks on days off (p = 0·01) were significantly correlated to current nursing workforce and hospital level. Older nurses tended to have more emergency department experience (r = 0·37; p = 0·01) and those with more emergency department experience tended to have vacation accumulation (r = 0·09; p = 0·04), overtime (r = 0·10; p = 0·03) and better perception of their emergency department's current workforce (r = 0·09; p = 0·05). Conclusions: Although nurses' perceptions were found to be only moderate, overtime and number of callbacks on days off are potential problems that should be addressed by nursing leaders to benefit future emergency nurses. Relevance to clinical practice: The findings can help drive strategies to ensure adequate staffing, to stabilise the nursing workforce and to prevent nurses from burnout factors such as working long hours, unpredictable schedules and a stressful work environment that may impact both the quality of emergency care and the quality of the nurses' work environment.
- Emergency nursing
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