Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Phyllis M. Connolly

Second Advisor

Colleen O'Leary-Kelley


Studies have indicated that work environment in mental health is stressful, however, few studies have focused on staff working in acute mental health settings (Jenkins & Elliott, 2004). The purpose of this study was to describe job satisfaction among a sample of mental health staff nurses who were caring for patients with acute psychiatric disorders in a federal hospital. The second purpose was to determine if there were relationships between global job satisfaction and ethnicity, years in the organization, current unit, field of nursing, working with patients with mental disorders and age of staff nurses. An anonymous survey was distributed to a convenience sample of 69 registered nurses who worked on the four mental health units using the McCloskey/Mueller Satisfaction Scale (MMSS). The scale is a 31-item questionnaire that identifies eight types of satisfaction. Thirty two responses were received out of 69 surveys distributed, a response rate of 46%. The findings revealed that mental health staff nurses were "neither satisfied nor dissatisfied"with the current jobs (mean score 3.4). Nurses were most happy about flexibility in work schedules and were most unhappy "with balance and work." The demographic findings indicated that over 70% of the nurses were concerned about their personal safety while on duty. A Pearson correlations test revealed that there is no significant relationship between global job satisfaction and the seven variables mentioned. A chi-square test found no correlation between ethnicity and global job satisfaction. The study used a small, convenience non random sample, therefore findings cannot be generalized to all nurses at the VA or general nursing population. To determine the levels of nurses' job satisfaction with a larger random sample, a repeat study is recommended to include mental health nurses in different facilities in California and other states. This research may guide future research in examining job satisfaction as a measure to the delivery of quality patient care and patient outcomes.