Frances M. Hawes, Ph.D.

The long-term care workforce is growing increasingly diverse. Immigrant and minority workers make up a significant proportion of the long-term care workforce and may be influential in filling these positions in the future. Given the growing diversity of the long-term care workforce, it is both timely and pertinent to examine how job satisfaction may be related to this population. 

As an Irish immigrant, I worked for a home health aide company that primarily hired workers from a similar background for eight years while completing my Ph.D. in Gerontology at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

During that time, I noticed that the social component of the job positively impacted my overall job satisfaction. From this experience, it has been my personal interest to investigate the impact that social interaction plays in job satisfaction to help provide the highest quality of care to residents in long-term care. 

Nursing home quality reflects its leadership and how managers and supervisors can support workers. When leadership invests in immigrant and minority long-term care workers, the job satisfaction of these workers will likely improve. However, my doctoral research indicates that Resident/Alien workers may be less likely to report job satisfaction compared to U.S.-born workers due to negative differences in supervisor support. 

Perhaps being stigmatized by one’s boss is especially detrimental for immigrants. This could be due to their lower status or not being familiar with organizational norms. That is, Resident/Alien immigrant workers may see higher frequencies of unjust or hostile behavior from managers.

These findings, therefore, imply that the role that managers and supervisors play in making sure an organization fosters shared values and provides a foundation for communication within the organization is important to long-term care worker job satisfaction, in particular for immigrant workers. To address this important concern, respect and acknowledgment of employees should be nurtured, and supervisors should display an inclusive attitude toward all workers, despite nationality. 

Management should pay attention to immigrant employees’ satisfaction. By understanding relationships with supervisors and using them to guide nursing home management practices, we can improve long-term care job satisfaction, and decrease staff turnover rates. This would not only be beneficial to long-term care workers, but also to nursing home residents and to long-term care in its entirety.

Frances M. Hawes, Ph.D., MS, is an Assistant Professor in the Health Administration Program at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, a program with over 200 undergraduate future senior care leaders. She has over 10 years’ experience working in the long-term care field. 

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.