Assessment of the work environment of multidisciplinary hospital staff

Jane McCusker (Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, St Mary's Hospital Center, and Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)
Nandini Dendukuri (Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Technology Assessment Unit, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada)
Linda Cardinal (Quality Assessment Unit, St Mary's Hospital Center, Montreal, Canada)
Lilly Katofsky (Social Services, St Mary's Hospital Center, Montreal, Canada)
Michael Riccardi (Department of Radiology, St Mary's Hospital Center, Montreal, Canada)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The purpose of this article is to investigate the performance of scales to assess the work environment of hospital professional staff, other than nurses or physicians.


A survey was conducted among professional (non‐nursing or medical) staff at a 300‐bed urban, university‐affiliated Canadian hospital. A total of 24 work environment items were adapted from a scale previously validated among nursing staff. Scales were developed based on a principal components analysis, and were compared among four groups of staff. The relationships between the scales and the following measures were then explored using univariate and multivariate analyses: satisfaction with the work environment, perceived quality of patient care, perceived frequency of patient/family complaints, work‐related injuries, and verbal abuse of staff.


The survey response rate was 154/200 (76.6 percent). Four scales were identified (with corresponding Cronbach's alpha), assessing the following aspects of the work environment: supervisory support (0.88), team‐work (0.84), professionalism (0.77), and interdisciplinary relations (0.64). In multivariate analyses, there were significant differences between the job groups in all four scales. One or more of the scales was significantly associated with overall satisfaction, perceived quality, and adverse incidents, even after adjustment for other staff characteristics.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include: the cross‐sectional design, subjective measurement of quality of care, small sample sizes in some groups of staff, and the single study site.

Practical implications

The scales developed in this study may be used by managers to assess hospital staff perceptions of the work environment.


The four proposed scales appear to measure meaningful aspects of the working environment that are important in determining overall satisfaction with the work environment and are related to quality of care.



McCusker, J., Dendukuri, N., Cardinal, L., Katofsky, L. and Riccardi, M. (2005), "Assessment of the work environment of multidisciplinary hospital staff", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 18 No. 7, pp. 543-551.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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