Structural and Psychological Empowerment of Community/Public Health Nurses




Royer, Linda

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This descriptive, non-experimental study examines the perceptions Community/Public Health Nurses (C/PHNs) have about the work they do and about their workplace when questioned about organizational factors that potentially lead to a sense of empowerment and commitment. Six hundred eighty-eight nurses from local and district health entities in 10 states which are seeking accreditation for organizational quality and health care delivery were invited to participate in a written survey. The survey was an instrument composed of questions concerning demographic and workplace characteristics, Spreitzer’s Structural and Psychological Empowerment questionnaire, and Meyer and Allen’s Employee Commitment and Career Change questionnaire. Participants (n=469) provided data important to recruitment and retention of nurses in this specialty. Results predictive of their leaving the job suggest that even though C/PHNs may feel attached to their work and workplace and even though they may feel loyal and duty-bound to it, if they are 35-45 years old and have worked in Public Health 1-36 months, they may be looking into or even planning to leave within one year. This paper describes the nursing workforce capacity crisis and empowerment and commitment theories as they relate to C/PHN perceptions, and offers suggestions to nurse leaders, public administrators, and policymakers for changes in nursing education, community nursing practice, research, and policy.



Workforce capacity, Intent to leave, Empowerment, Commitment, Recruitment, Nursing