The aim of this study was to examine how nurses' professional needs were met in nursing practice.
A survey design was used in this study.
Data were collected from one metropolitan public hospital, one rural public hospital, and from postgraduate students in diploma/certificate course at a university in Victoria.
Participants consisted of 346 registered nurses (RNs), who had completed either a three-year nursing diploma or a degree course, and were working in hospitals at the time of the study.
Main outcome measures
Nurses' need to obtain professional rewards, challenges and support for their performance were compared with their perception of how their work environment actually reinforced those needs. In addition, desired nursing roles were compared with perceptions of actual roles carried out in practice.
The findings suggest there is a mismatch between nurses' professional needs and the intrinsic/extrinsic rewards they receive for their performance. There is also a mismatch between their desired nursing role and actual roles in practice. These mismatches are prominent in areas such as participation in policy decision-making, professional recognition and opportunity to earn a higher income.
The findings suggest there is a mismatch between nurses' professional needs and their actual nursing practice. As these mismatches may negatively impact upon nurses' work behaviour, it is important to reduce the gap between professional needs and the experience of actual nursing practice.