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Curationis. 1996 Sep;19(3):17-20.

Job satisfaction and self-esteem of South African nurses.

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  • 1Medical Research Council, Pretoria.


The overall aim of this study was to investigate job satisfaction and self-esteem among South African nurses. The objectives of the study were to: (1) ascertain South African nurses' satisfaction with their work, pay, promotion, supervision and co-workers; (2) compare job satisfaction of South African nurses with that of North American nurses; (3) determine levels of self-esteem; and (4) test the direct and indirect effects of self-esteem on job satisfaction. A postal survey was conducted on a random sample of 2,000 nurses registered with the South African Nursing Council; 396 persons returned the questionnaires (Group 1). A subsample of 93 nonrespondents was traced and agreed to complete the questionnaire (Group 2). Minimal differences justified combining the groups and conducting subsequent analyses on total sample scores. Nurses were most satisfied with supervision and co-workers and least satisfied with promotion and pay. Reliability coefficients for the five job satisfaction subscales and overall scale ranged between 0.79 (work) and 0.93 (overall scale). South African nurses were significantly less satisfied with all aspects of their jobs than their American counterparts. Coefficient alpha for the self-esteem scale was 0.72, 0.87 for the work-related needs scale and 0.80 for the social approval scale. High self-esteem nurses were more likely to attend to work-related needs in judging their job satisfaction than low self-esteem nurses. The best model for predicting job satisfaction was the linear incorporation of self-esteem and work-related needs. It was concluded that: (1) the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) was a useful measure of job satisfaction; (2) the quality of life in the South African nursing profession was lower than their American counterparts; (3) nurses had high levels of self-esteem; and (4) self-esteem directly and indirectly affected job satisfaction.

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