Identifying nurses’ rewards : A qualitative categorization study in Belgium
De Gieter, Sara × De Cooman, Rein Pepermans, Roland Caers, Ralf Du Bois, Cindy Jegers, Marc #
Human Resources for Health vol:4 issue:15 pages:1-8
Rewards are important in attracting, motivating and retaining the most qualified employees, and nurses are no exception to this rule. This makes the establishment of an efficient reward system for nurses a true challenge for every hospital manager. A reward does not necessarily have a financial connotation: non-financial rewards may matter too, or may even be more important. Therefore, the present study examines nurses' reward perceptions, in order to identify potential reward options.
To answer the research question "What do nurses consider a reward and how can these rewards be categorized?", 20 in-depth semi-structured interviews with nurses were conducted and analysed using discourse and content analyses. In addition, the respondents received a list of 34 rewards (derived from the literature) and were asked to indicate the extent to which they perceived each of them to be rewarding.
Discourse analysis revealed three major reward categories: financial, non-financial and psychological, each containing different subcategories. In general, nurses more often mentioned financial rewards spontaneously in the interview, compared to non-financial and psychological rewards. The questionnaire results did not, however, indicate a significant difference in the rewarding potential of these three categories. Both the qualitative and quantitative data revealed that a number of psychological and non-financial rewards were important for nurses in addition to their monthly pay and other remunerations. In particular, appreciation for their work by others, compliments from others, presents from others and contact with patients were highly valued. Moreover, some demographical variables influenced the reward perceptions. Younger and less experienced nurses considered promotion possibilities as more rewarding than the older and more senior ones. The latter valued job security and working for a hospital with a good reputation higher than their younger and more junior colleagues.
When trying to establish an efficient reward system for nurses, hospital managers should not concentrate on the financial reward possibilities alone. They also ought to consider non-financial and psychological rewards (in combination with financial rewards), since nurses value these as well and they may lead to a more personalized reward system.