Assessment of the Degree of Professional Satisfaction in Greek Mental Health Nursing Personnel employed in Public and Private Services

Introduction: The impact of a low level of professional satisfaction of nurses on the quality and safety of the care delivered has been well documented. There is evidence of an association between low professional satisfaction, work related stress, professional burnout and mild psychiatric symptoms in nurses. However, professional satisfaction in Greek mental health nursing personnel has not been adequately studied. Aim: To investigate the degree of professional satisfaction among Greek nursing personnel working in state and private mental health services, and its association with demographic, educational and employment factors. Method: A correlational, cross-sectional design was applied with a convenience study sample of 192 individuals. The degree of professional satisfaction was measured by the tool Index of Work Satisfaction (IWS). Results: The overall degree of professional satisfaction was moderate (mean [M]=3.93±0.05, scale range [SR]: 1-7). The most satisfying job component was the quality of professional relationships (M=4.66±0.9, SR: 1-7), whilst the least satisfying was pay (M=2.34±0.1, SR: 1-7), which was also found to be the most important job component. The least important job component was organizational and managerial policies. Association was demonstrated between the number of beds (workload) and satisfaction derived from (a) professional relationships (r=-0.190, p=0.011), (b) clinical autonomy (r=-0.163, p=0.030), (c) tasks during shift (r=-0.288, p<0.0001), and (d) professional status (r=-0.224, p=0.003). Satisfaction from professional relationships (p=0.01) and status (p=0.046) were higher in nurses than in nursing assistants. Conclusions: Greek mental health nursing personnel reported moderate professional satisfaction. Pay, organizational policies and task requirements were the least satisfying job components. On the other hand, pay, clinical autonomy and professional relationships were perceived as the most important job parameters. Further, qualitative studies are needed, with special focus on particular aspects of the managerial and financial policies of mental health services as sources of work dissatisfaction. Overall, priority needs to be given to studies assessing the effectiveness of interventions targeted to pay increases and opportunities for higher income. In addition, attention to the allocation of workload is also proposed.