1. Murray, Kathleen MSN, RN, CNA

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QMy employee satisfaction scores have plummeted this year because I've had to reduce staffing due to budgetary obligations. How can I improve when my staff doesn't have enough help?


There are many variables that make employee job satisfaction outcomes so complex in today's environment. Every employee has distinct reasons for working, and reasons for achieving job satisfaction are very individualized. But, for the most part, employees come to work looking to give their all and want to feel valued for their contributions.


You don't want to treat your employees as financial data to meet budgetary obligations because they'll perceive that they aren't a valuable part of the whole picture. The end result? You'll have a workforce that will only do the minimum. You also don't want to send the message that administration has "made you cut staff." This will convey to your employees that you don't support what your organization is doing and why. Taking the path of positively communicating the reasons for the organization's strategy to get through a tough financial period will foster an environment of staff involvement. Share your ideas and include your employees in solutions that will open the door to achievement of the best possible outcomes.


Your employees are clearly looking to you for your guidance through these tumultuous times. It's important that you drill down into the factors that are most affecting your employee satisfaction results. Remember that creating positive employee motivation and morale starts with you. Devote the majority of your work time to rounding on your employees. Let them know you care about them as employees and people, and send the message that each individual is pivotal to the success of the unit and the organization. Your outcome will be an engaged staff.

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QWill the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree be sustainable given the lack of nurses prepared at the master's degree level?


In 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) called for a transformational change in the education required for professional nurses who'll practice at the most advanced level of nursing.1 The DNP degree's education and practice roles were built on the content and competencies outlined in the AACN's Essentials of Master's Education for Advanced Practice Nursing.2 Graduates of programs based on these essentials already possess much of the core knowledge needed to attain the end-of-program competencies delineated for the DNP program, which will provide graduates with the additional competencies and knowledge needed to practice at the highest level. The AACN member institutions voted to move the current level of preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice from the master's degree to the doctorate level by 2015.1,3


Nursing schools have made enormous progress over the last 6 years through developing and implementing DNP programs, which are now available in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The 2009 AACN survey found that 28 new DNP programs were opened in 2009, bringing the total number of programs to 120. In addition, data collected through the annual survey and a supplemental survey completed by the AACN in February 2010 found that an additional 161 DNP programs are in the planning stages. At present, 71.9% of schools with APRN programs (388 schools) are either offering or planning a DNP program.4




1. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Position Statement on the Practice Doctorate in Nursing. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges of Nursing; 2004. [Context Link]


2. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The Essentials of Master's Education for Advanced Practice Nursing. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges of Nursing; 1996. [Context Link]


3. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Programs. Frequently Asked Questions. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges of Nursing; 2009. [Context Link]


4. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The Doctor of Nursing Practice: A Report on Progress. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges of Nursing; 2010. [Context Link]