The Effects of Gamification on Nurse Work Motivation

The Effects of Gamification on Nurse Work Motivation

Jaana-Maija Koivisto, Elina Haavisto, Antti J. Kaipia, Ira H. Saarinen, Jari Multisilta
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9223-6.ch012
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A current concern in the medical field is that nurses leave their careers due to low work motivation. Intrinsic motivation is a key factor that influences satisfaction in the workplace. This study aimed to develop a gamification intervention for implementation in a hospital setting and evaluate its effects on nurses' work motivation. It was hypothesized that nurses' work motivation would improve by the end of the intervention. The study was conducted in a surgical ward at a hospital in Finland. The design was descriptive and quasi-experimental. The study found that continuous feedback from gamification interventions influenced nurses' work motivation. The gamified group offered more positive feedback than the non-gamified group. These findings add to our understanding of the effects of gamification interventions on nurses' work motivation in hospital settings. However, more research is needed to demonstrate the potential of gamification to increase the retention of much-needed human resources.
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Gamification can be used to increase both the motivation and productivity of workers (Huotari & Hamari, 2011). Increased motivation typically leads to better results and more enjoyable work (Hamari et al., 2014). According to a study by Huotari and Hamari (2012), work-related intrinsic motivation and the reward of work can be promoted by applying gamification to workers’ everyday work processes. Deterding et al. (2011) define “gamification” as the use of game design elements in non-game contexts. It can also be understood as the process of making activities more game-like (Werbach, 2014). In addition, gamification can comprise a process of enhancing a service with affordances for “gameful” experiences to support the user’s overall value creation (Huotari & Hamari, 2012). Gamification is often based on the use of intrinsic motivation. Deci and Ryan (2004) developed a theory of self-determination that examines the choices people make without external influences (e.g., external rewards). According to Ryan (2009) “self‐determination theory (SDT) is a macro‐theory of human motivation, personality development, and well‐being. The theory focuses especially on volitional or self‐determined behaviour and the social and cultural conditions that promote it. SDT also postulates a set of basic and universal psychological needs, namely those for autonomy, competence and relatedness, the fulfilment of which is considered necessary and essential to vital, healthy human functioning regardless of culture or stage of development”. Traditionally, different reward systems, such as financial rewards, non-monetary rewards and recognition have been used to influence employee motivation. However, rewards comprise external sources of motivation, and intrinsic motivation is more effective than external motivation at engaging employees. For example, Deci et al. (2001) stated that when a reward is taken away, an employee’s motivation becomes even lower than it was before the reward was given.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Self-Determination Theory (SDT): A theory of human motivation, personality development, and well-being. It focuses on self-determined behaviour and basic psychological needs, namely autonomy, competence, and relatedness, that are in the core of human functioning.

Purposive Sampling: A sampling method in which the researchers select the participants of a study using their own expert knowledge of the population from which the study participants are being chosen.

Daily Experience of Work Motivation: DEWMnur is a questionnaire related to work motivation that the participating nurses filled out after each work shift. The nurses in the gamified group received weekly feedback based on this questionnaire (summarized at the group level), while the nurses in the non-gamified group did not receive any feedback.

Intrinsic Motivation: Employees who experience intrinsic motivation are enthusiastic about the work itself, not just the external rewards that the job gives them.

Patient Education Knowledge Test: PEKTpat is a multiple-choice test used to evaluate patients’ level of understanding of their self-care instructions after their discharge.

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