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Nurses with the least and the most time working in their current positions perceived the greatest support from their supervisors when compared with other nurses in a recent study. Survey findings also suggest that a high degree of supervisor support is a large part of a healthy work environment.


In the study, 169 RNs at a large community acute care hospital in California answered true or false to 90 statements. Researchers attempted to determine if the RNs' perceptions of the work environment differed by their number of years as an RN or by tenure in their current positions.


Of the 169 respondents, 83 (49%) had 21 or more years' experience as an RN and 53% worked full-time. The number of years working in their current positions was relatively even among the groups.


Both new graduates and seasoned RNs had similar perceptions of their work environment: RNs with fewer than 2 years in their current position and those with 21 or more years reported the highest degree of supervisor support. Nurses with 4 to 5, 6 to 10, and 16 to 20 years reported the lowest levels of support. Findings also suggest that the RNs with 4 to 5 years in their positions both need and want more support from supervisors.


Researchers suspect that new hires receive warm welcomes (orientation programs, preceptorships, and frequent evaluations) that contribute to more supervisor support. Nurses with many years in their positions have established relationships with peers and supervisors and may be more comfortable requesting what they need.

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Stuenkel DL, et al., Nurses' perceptions of their work environment, Journal of Nursing Care Quality, October/December 2007.