Nurses' Voice: The Meaning of Voice to Experienced Registered Nurses Employed in a Magnet Hospital Workplace

Open Access
Beck, Julie A.
Graduate Program:
Adult Education
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
April 25, 2005
Committee Members:
  • Daniele D Flannery, Committee Chair
  • Dr Edward Taylor, Committee Member
  • Samuel William Monismith, Committee Member
  • Helen Margaret Hendy, Committee Member
  • Nursing
  • Adult Education
  • Magnet Hospital
  • Voice
  • Women
Magnet Hospitals are healthcare environments that have recognized excellence in nursing care. These accredited Magnet Hospitals, a term coined in the early 1980’s, were seen to have the ability to attract nurses. These hospitals have quantitatively documented greater patient satisfaction, greater nurse autonomy, lower incidence of nursing burnout and greater nursing retention. As healthcare faces one of its most significant nursing shortages, Magnet Hospitals illustrate an organizational and corporate strategy that aims to recognize nursing and hopefully retain and recruit nurses during this challenging time. While there are numerous quantitative studies that examine aspects of Magnet Hospitals such as nursing autonomy in practice, organizational hospital structure, lower nurse burnout and greater nurse retention, there remain few studies that have examined this workplace environment from a qualitative perspective. The use of nursing’s voice in this study was meant to qualitatively examine what it means for the participants to be working at an accredited Magnet Hospital. Voice implies autonomy, self-awareness, and power. The concept of voice dovetails into the Magnet Hospital literature as it provides a different lens to see what it means for the nurses who work within this setting. Voice is imperative to examine in the context of a Magnet Hospital as it helped give insight to what the nurses’ perceptions were at one particular Magnet Hospital and what they viewed as important to their work at that hospital. The findings revealed that the nurses did not feel that their voice was heard within this Magnet Hospital. There were several consistencies that arose from the conversations with the participants which include: importance of the nurse manager, physician-nurse relations, staffing concerns, committee structure, and working within the Magnet Hospital itself. Based upon these themes, several implications for nursing, human research and development, and adult education are discussed.