Improved nurse job satisfaction and job retention with the transition from a "mandatory consultation" model to a "semiclosed" surgical intensive care unit: A 1-year prospective evaluation

Elliott R. Haut, Corinna P. Sicoutris, Denise M. Meredith, Seema S. Sonnad, Patrick M. Reilly, C. William Schwab, C. William Hanson, Vicente H. Gracias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: The change from a "mandatory consultation" to a "semiclosed" surgical intensive care unit (SICU) model will impact nurses considerably. We hypothesize that nurse job satisfaction, job turnover rates, and hospital costs for temporary agency nurses will improve and these improvements will be more dramatic in SICU sections with greater involvement of a dedicated surgical critical care service (SCCS). Design: Prospective longitudinal survey. Setting: Tertiary-care university hospital. Subjects: SICU staff nurses. Interventions: Change from mandatory consultation to semi-closed SICU. Measurements and Main Results: We surveyed SICU nurses during the year-long transition to a semiclosed SICU service (five time points, 3-month intervals). The first four surveys included ten questions on nurse job satisfaction. The final survey included two additional questions. All questions were on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree). Nurse job turnover rates and money spent on agency nurses were compared over time; 503 of a possible 914 surveys were completed (55% overall return rate). Nurse job satisfaction scores significantly improved over time for all questions (p < .05). Hospital spending on agency nurses decreased significantly (p = .0098). The yearly nurse job turnover rate dropped from 25% to 16% (p = .15). The scores for both year-end statements ("I am more satisfied with my job now than 1 year ago" and "The SCCS management of all orders has improved my job satisfaction") were significantly higher in sections with greater SCCS involvement (p = .0070 and p < .0001). Conclusions: Nurse job satisfaction improved significantly with the transition to a semiclosed SICU. This higher satisfaction was associated with a significant decrease in spending on temporary agency nurses and a trend toward increased staff nurse job retention. SICU sections with greater SCCS involvement had more dramatic improvements. This semiclosed SICU model may help retain SICU nurses in a competitive job market in which experienced nurses are in short supply.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-395
Number of pages9
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Attitude of health personnel
  • Intensive care
  • Intensivist
  • Intensivist model
  • Job satisfaction
  • Nursing staff
  • Personnel turnover
  • Physician-nurse relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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