Job satisfaction in the role of the academic dean in schools of nursing

Date of Completion

January 2005


The roles of academic deans in higher education are challenging and complex, yet longevity in these positions is relatively short. As the nation faces a massive nursing shortage, creative, visionary leaders will need to provide exemplary leadership in schools of nursing as the profession attempts to recruit and educate the next generation of health care providers. The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether the position of the academic dean in schools of nursing contains core characteristics associated with job satisfaction. The Hackman and Oldham Job Diagnostic Survey (1980), was mailed to the chief executive officer of 559 American Associate of Colleges of Nursing schools. Forty-six percent responded, and data from 216 nursing deans was used in the study. Scores indicated that all five core job characteristics as proposed by Hackman and Oldham were present to a moderately high degree in their roles. Deans reported more Skill variety, Task significance, and Autonomy, and a similar amount of Task identity and Feedback in their job compared to any other job family reported by Hackman and Oldham (1980). A higher Motivating Potential Score indicated higher job satisfaction than any other comparison group. These findings indicate that job satisfaction among academic nursing deans is high, and there is no need to consider restructuring of the job. Thus, frequent turnover and limited longevity in the position may not be caused by the role itself, but may be the result of other factors indicating the need for further study. ^