Letter to the Editor by Marie Smith-East to "Nurse engagement: What are the contributing factors for success?"

The Patient Experience: Capturing the Intricacies of Contributing Factors

August 3, 2018

Response by Marie Smith-East to "Nurse engagement: What are the contributing factors for success?" by Christy Dempsey and Barbara Reilly (January 31, 2106)

Dear Editor,

Identified as one of the fastest growing occupations by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), the nursing profession also has many avenues in which an individual can become a nurse. Naturally, along with the various entrance points into nursing that are available, an individual can have many reasons for choosing nursing as a career. Although many of the studies highlighted in the article by Dempsey and Reilly (2016) discussed intriguing facets of nurse engagement, none of the studies provided a perspective of personal factors that can contribute to nurse engagement outside of the organization of which the nurse is employed.

For example, perspectives attributing to nurse engagement could differ for the person who earned a first degree in nursing versus someone who pursued nursing as a second degree. Income levels before compared to after becoming a nurse, age, and previous healthcare experiences are also additional factors that should be considered which can add to the complexity of the topic. Raines (2010) explained that for the second degree nurse, a desire to change careers and the attraction to the practice of nursing should be examined for nursing recruitment and retention. The desire for the nurse to make a difference in the workforce is an intrinsic component aside from shift hours and lack of teamwork within the organization that should be reviewed.

In the same manner where patient satisfaction could be decreased if expectations of the care from their healthcare provider are not met (Berkowitz, 2016), the same could be applied to the nurse that outside of organizational factors may have had expectations regarding what the role itself would look like. Therefore, strategies to improve nurse engagement should address not only work/life balance, organizational factors, and teaching compassion in nursing school, but also closing the gap related to prior expectations that include influential personal factors (internal) that existed prior to becoming a nurse.


Marie Smith-East, MSN, MS, EMT-B, PMHNP-BC
PhD Nursing Student
University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL.


Berkowitz, B. (2016). The patient experience and patient satisfaction: Measurement of a complex dynamic. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 21(1), Manuscript 1. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol21No01Man01

Dempsey, C., & Reilly, B., (2016). Nurse engagement: What are the contributing factors for success? OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 21(1), Manuscript 2. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol21No01Man02

Raines, D., (2010). What attracts second degree students to a career in nursing? OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 16(1). doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol16No01PPT03

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015). Occupational outlook handbook, registered nurses. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm