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Job satisfaction among Swedish mental health nursing personnel: Revisiting the two-factor theory

Journal article
Authors Christopher Holmberg
Jino Caro
Iwona Sobis
Published in International Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 581-592
ISSN 1445-8330
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Public Administration
Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science
Pages 581-592
Language en
Keywords Arbetsmotivation, Arbetstillfredsställelse, Psykiatrisk omvårdnad, Psykiatrisjuksköterskor, Psykiatri, Tvåfaktorteorin
Subject categories Public Administration Studies, Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy, Nursing


Swedish mental health-care services are experiencing a critical shortage of nursing personnel. Researchers suggest that this shortage is due to low levels of job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is frequently studied with the assistance of Herzberg's two-factor theory, and this theory has foremost been explored with studies using quantitative methods. The purpose of the present study was to provide a better understanding of Herzberg's theory in relation to job satisfaction among Swedish mental health nursing personnel within inpatient psychiatric care while using qualitative methodology. This explorative study was based on semistructured interviews with 25 nursing personnel. Qualitative content analysis of interview transcripts identified three main categories: (i) respondents' perception of their work duties, which was perceived as important, meaningful, and demanding; (ii) respondents' relations with colleagues and supervisors, which provided valuable support in everyday work; and (iii) the way the respondents experienced their professional role as mental health nurses, which was described as unclear and vague. Job satisfaction primarily stemmed from working for patients and with other professionals, but their perceived limited progression of responsibilities discouraged a career in the profession. Herzberg's theory proved useful in exploring job satisfaction in this setting, but the findings partly contradict the basic tenets of the theory. Career advancements and incentives, such as salary and compensation, were perceived as lacking, which negatively influenced job satisfaction. Ward managers should establish clinical ladder programmes to recognize and motivate the continuing professional development of nurses. This needs to be coupled with monetary incentives, and linked with increased clinical authority.

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