Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science (Hons.)


School of Nursing


Western Australian College of Advanced Education

First Advisor

Dr Ruth MacKay


Primary nursing, one of the methods advocated for assigning nurses to care for patients, has been the subject of much investigation. The value of the system remains unclear. A review of the literature indicated a lack of consensus with positive, equivocal, and negative findings. This study formed phase one of a collaborative Project which measures the effects of the implementation of primary nursing over a two year period. This portion of the Project studies the base-line data of three paired nursing units, to determine whether there was evidence of base-line equivalence of the study and control groups, as determined by nurse job satisfaction and attitudes to the work environment. Nurse job satisfaction was measured using the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) and attitudes to the work environment by the Moos Work Environment Scale (MWES). The study was conducted at an acute-care medical surgical hospital in the Perth metropolitan area. A total of 127 questionnaires were administered. A modified version of Dillman's Total Design Method was employed to maximise the response rate which was elevated from 57% to 86% through the application of this technique. Comparison of the pre-test scores revealed a significant difference in the surgical units on the intrinsic and general satisfaction scales of the MSQ, and the autonomy scale of the MWES. No significant differences were found in the remaining two units on any of the scales. The effects of selected demographic variables on nurse satisfaction and attitudes to the work environment were also studied. The finding of lack of equivalence in the surgical units will need to be taken into consideration in further analysis for the remaining two phases of the Project.