Relationships among nurse managers' job design, work environment, and nurse and patient outcomes.

Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1002/nur.22307


The importance of nurse managers' practice environments in affecting outcomes for direct care nurses and patients has been well-researched. Nonetheless, much remains to be learned about the determinants of the nurse manager practice environment. In this study, 541 US nurse managers' survey responses were matched to unit-level aggregate data of their subordinates' responses on the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators. A model relating job design and experience to the nurse manager's practice environment and direct care nurse (i.e., job satisfaction, intent to stay, and joy and meaning in work) and patient outcomes (i.e., nurse-reported quality of care and missed nursing care) was evaluated through multilevel path analysis. Nurse manager span of control, support staff, and experience influence nurse managers' perceptions of their practice environment and nurse and patient outcomes. Although support staff can offset some negative effects of wide spans of control, it does not fully compensate for wide spans. Thus, nurse manager job design factors and experience relate to nurse manager practice environments and valued downstream outcomes. The present research emphasizes the importance of a positive nurse manager practice environment and provides guidance for nurse manager hiring and job design decisions.

Journal Title

Research in nursing & health





First Page


Last Page


MeSH Keywords

Humans; Working Conditions; Nurse Administrators; Job Satisfaction; Nursing Care; Surveys and Questionnaires; Nursing Staff, Hospital; Leadership


competency; hospital; nurse manager; nursing staff; patient care; span of control

Library Record