In 2003, over 13,000 Ontario nurses were surveyed to explore how they evaluated their hospital work environments and their responses to these practice environments. The purpose of this paper is to describe and compare these nurses' evaluations and responses. Sixty-five percent of nurses who were mailed surveys completed and returned a survey. Significant differences were found between registered nurse and registered practical nurse characteristics such as mean age, full-time employment rates, mean years of nursing experience and proportion enrolled in university or college educational programs. Both groups reported weak professional practice environments; however, there were some significant differences between the evaluations by registered nurses and those of registered practical nurses. Although both groups reported weak job satisfaction and moderate levels of burnout, there were significant differences in other responses. Study findings have implications for managing and leading nurses and for strengthening human resources practices.
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