The objective of this study was to examine job satisfaction, motivation and associated factors among nurses working in the public health facilities of Ethiopia, with the aim of improving performance and productivity in the health care system. From a random sample of 125 health facilities, 424 nurses were randomly selected for face-to-face interviews in all regions of Ethiopia. Overall, 60.8% of nurses expressed satisfaction with their job. Job satisfaction levels were significantly higher for female nurses, those older than 29 years and those who had over 10 years of work experience. Satisfaction with remuneration, recognition, professional advancement, features of the work itself, and nurses’ work experiences from 5 to 10 years were significantly associated with overall job satisfaction after controlling for other predictors. The study findings are signals for the Ministry of Health to strengthen the human resource management system and practices to improve nurses’ overall job satisfaction and motivation, especially among nurses with 5 to 10 years of experience on the job. Expanded recognition systems and opportunities for advancement are required to increase nurses’ job satisfaction and motivation. Equitable salary and fringe benefits are also needed to reduce their dissatisfaction with the job.