Racial and Ethnic Minority Nurses’ Job Satisfaction in the U.S.

BACKGROUND: Understanding minority nurses' job satisfaction is a critical first step to inform strategies designed to retain minority nurses and improve institutional climate to ensure sustained diversity. Yet, empirical evidence is limited in this regard, especially comparisons across racial and ethnic groups in a national sample in the U.S.

OBJECTIVES: To determine minority nurses' job satisfaction across racial and ethnic groups relative to White nurses using a national representative sample.

METHODS: A retrospective cross-sectional analysis was conducted using the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses. The sample includes registered nurses who were primarily employed in nursing in the U.S. Job satisfaction was measured by a single survey item. Racial and ethnic minority status was defined as self-identified membership in a group other than White non-Hispanic, including Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Multiracial. Multinomial logistic regression was performed to compare job satisfaction across racial and ethnic groups while adjusting for individual and job-related characteristics.

RESULTS: The majority of nurses were satisfied with their job. The nurse group that had the highest proportion of being satisfied with their job was Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (88.8%), followed by White (81.6%), Asian (81%), Hispanic (78.9%), Black (76%), Multiracial (75.7%), and American Indian/Alaska Native (74.3%). Adjusting for individual and job-related characteristics, evidence indicated the potential for lower job satisfaction among Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Multiracial nurses compared to White nurses. Asian nurses reported the highest levels of neutral (versus dissatisfaction) compared to White nurses. There was no evidence indicating a clear difference in job satisfaction between Hispanic, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and White nurses.

CONCLUSIONS: Moderate differences in job satisfaction were observed across racial and ethnic groups. More research is needed to understand factors underlying these differences, so that nursing and hospital administrators can develop effective strategies to improve job satisfaction and retain minority nurses.