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Perceived Barriers to Effective Job Performance Among Nursing Assistants in Long-Term Care

Published:September 04, 2009DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2009.05.001

      Objectives

      This research explored perceived barriers to job performance among a national sample of nursing assistants (NAs). Specific objectives were (1) to clarify which of the problems identified by previous research are most troublesome for NAs, (2) to develop a reliable quantitative measure of perceived barriers to job performance, and (3) to test construct validity of the measure vis-à-vis work-related psychological empowerment and job satisfaction.

      Methods

      Nursing assistants attending the 2006 national conference of the National Association of Health Care Assistants completed a paper-and-pencil survey including 33 barriers to job performance and standardized measures of empowerment and job satisfaction. The barriers were also rated by a small sample of NAs at a single Georgia nursing home.

      Results

      Factor analysis of barriers items yielded a 30-item Nursing Assistants Barriers Scale (NABS) comprising 6 subscales: Teamwork, Exclusion, Respect, Workload, Work Stress, and New NAs. Lack of teamwork and exclusion from communication processes were rated as most problematic by both samples. The 6 NABS subscales were significantly and independently associated with empowerment and satisfaction; different barriers predicted the 2 constructs.

      Discussion

      This study is a first step toward quantitative assessment of NAs' perceptions of barriers to doing their jobs. Primary limitations are the select sample and use of a job satisfaction measure that may have artificially inflated correlations with the NABS. Nonetheless, results confirm the validity of the new scale as an operationalization of the barriers construct.

      Conclusion

      The concept of barriers to job performance is a unique construct from work empowerment and satisfaction with one's job. Nursing assistants clearly differentiate various barriers, converging on workload and lack of teamwork as most problematic. Further work is needed to substantiate validity and reliability of the NABS, particularly with respect to NAs' actual job performance, intent to stay on the job versus leave, absenteeism, and turnover.

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