SA Journal of Industrial Psychology
On-line version ISSN 0258-5200
ORIENTATION: Nursing is a noble profession but not always an easy job. Work overload, few resources, limited promotion and development opportunities have a negative impact on the sustainability of the profession. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The primary objective of this research was to investigate the relationship between organisational commitment, work engagement and meaning of work amongst nursing staff at various hospitals. MOTIVATION FOR STUDY: It is important to understand how to optimise the work experience of nursing staff in order to ensure a committed and engaged workforce. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: A survey design with a cluster sample (n = 199) was used. The Organisational Commitment Questionnaire, Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, Work-Life Questionnaire and a biographical questionnaire were administered. MAIN FINDINGS: The majority of the scales showed acceptable reliability. Results indicated that the majority of nursing staff view their work as either a job or a calling. This impacts the organisation in the sense that viewing work as a calling predicts 19% of the variance in organisational commitment and 30% of the variance in work engagement. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Viewing work as a calling will accompany higher levels of engagement and commitment to the organisation. Nurses who feel that they make a meaningful contribution to the hospital are more inclined to stay in the organisation. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: Strategies can be put in place to focus on experiencing work as a calling, rather than a job. Enhancing this experience and creating awareness could lead to higher levels of organisational commitment and work engagement.