RN feedback leads to RN satisfaction

Responding to a survey is usually not at the top of anyone’s to-do list, especially for health care professionals who are already busy prioritizing patient care and supporting their teams. But while the task of taking surveys might be inconvenient, the results are essential to the development of well-informed, data-driven decisions and action plans.

RN satisfaction: Why we survey

UW Health Employee Voice Strategy, managed by Human Resources, provides employees with multiple opportunities to give feedback or offer ideas on how to improve the workplace through participation in different surveys (e.g., annual engagement survey, annual diversity, equity and inclusion survey, biannual culture of safety survey).

The RN satisfaction survey provides an opportunity beyond the annual all-employee engagement survey to hear from nurses regarding elements specific to their nursing practice experience, with the goal of identifying opportunities for improving the practice environment for all UW Health nurses. Additionally, data from this survey is required to participate in national benchmarking opportunities and to meet external reporting requirements (e.g., regulatory and Magnet).

Survey vendor comparison

Historically, UW Health nursing in Wisconsin and northern Illinois has used the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) as our RN Satisfaction Survey vendor. The survey market, however, has evolved and there are new vendors available that provide comparable, if not more robust, survey tools and support. Perceptyx is one such vendor that also serves as the preferred vendor for the organization’s employee voice strategy.

In 2023, nursing was presented with an opportunity to pilot the Perceptyx RN Satisfaction Survey in combination with the employee engagement survey from human resources. To ensure the integrity of our RN satisfaction data and compare survey vendors, UW Health nurses in Wisconsin participated in both the Perceptyx and NDNQI RN Satisfaction Surveys in August and October 2023, respectively.

Going forward, we want to ensure UW Health nurses are participating in the surveys that accurately capture their work experiences, provide secure platforms to share their feedback and deliver meaningful results that lead to advancements and improvements in the nurse practice environment. 

High-scoring units

While results from NDNQI and the preferred RN Satisfaction Survey vendor decision are pending (as of December 2023), the August 2023 Perceptyx engagement and RN Satisfaction Survey results highlighted several areas in nursing with outstanding performance.  East Madison Hospital 3rd and 4th floor inpatient units scored higher than average in all nine engagement categories and seven nurse satisfaction domains. Nurses on both units attribute their scores to the hard work their teams have put in over the past few years to build and sustain a culture of teamwork and respect on their units. They’ve created spaces where care team members support each other and feel empowered to do their best work on every shift, every day.

East Madison Hospital 4th floor: A unit transformed

The 2021 RN satisfaction survey results for the 4th floor inpatient unit at East Madison Hospital reflected the reality of a difficult transition as a newly formed unit.

They expanded to support increasing patient volumes while recovering from the effects of the pandemic (e.g., staffing challenges and clinician burnout). There were a lot of challenges to overcome, but the partnership established between Kristen Stine, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, nurse manager and the 4th floor nursing staff has proven effective to building a positive practice environment for nurses.

Over the past two years, the 4th floor unit has implemented several improvement projects to increase nurse input and influence on decisions impacting their work experience. A unit council was formed, a PICK (possible, implement, challenge, kibosh) huddle was established, recognition of team members increased and right-sized staffing allowed the opportunity to address flexible scheduling needs. Scoring 100% in the Engagement Teamwork category and 100% in several questions within the RN Satisfaction RN-to-RN Teamwork and Collaboration and Interprofessional Relationships domains, reflects the impact that shared governance, consistent leadership and quality improvement work have on nurse satisfaction.

East Madison Hospital 3rd floor: A unit empowered to lead

Working on the 3rd floor inpatient unit (5th floor unit at the time) was the first job Kalyn Sonday, BSN, RN, had after graduating from UW–Madison School of Nursing in May 2020.

She is confident that the unit’s results of 100% in the Engagement category of Manager Relationship and 95% in the RN Satisfaction domain of RN-to-RN Teamwork and Collaboration reflect the reality of working on the 3rd floor at East Madison Hospital.

“We’re a close-knit group that gets along,” Kalyn said. “But it’s a choice every day. You have to choose this team every day. This is hard work, but I know every day when I go in that I have this team and they have my back.”

Both Kalyn and her colleague Stephanie Kleinschmidt, BSN, RN, care team leader, are quick to point out that a critical piece of the unit’s success has been the exceptional leadership of their manager, Channa Magli, MSN, RN. Stephanie described her style as “transformational leadership — to a T,” highlighting Channa’s ability to earn the team’s trust and respect by being visible and leading by example, working alongside them in scrubs, stepping in to support a colleague with a difficult patient care situation, keeping the team informed and involved in decisions impacting their unit, and advocating for the team’s needs.

Kalyn Sonday, (left), and her colleague Stephanie Kleinschmidt, (right), care team leader, attribute their unit’s improvement to the exceptional leadership of their manager, Channa Magli, (center), who as Stephanie describes earns the team’s trust and respect by being visible and leading by example.

Seeing Channa’s confidence in doing her work and advocating for her team, empowers those around her to become better nurses and leaders. In 15 years of being an RN, Stephanie said, “I have never been so content and satisfied in my profession.”

The RN Satisfaction Survey is essential to improving and advancing UW Health nursing practice. By keeping it a top priority, we ensure nurses feel empowered in their individual practices and connected to the Nursing Vision to serve as remarkable and trusted national leaders in nursing — every day.

Check out more stories featuring the great work of our nurses in the Nursing Year in Review 2023 (pdf).