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Keeping nurses on the job: Retention is part of the answer to the nursing shortage
Date:3/30/2009

[PRINCETON, NJ] A new research study, published in the March/April issue of the journal Nursing Economics, has determined what factors can help keep new nurses from leaving their jobs and in doing so save health systems money. When nurses leave for another position or retire early, it dramatically affects a hospital's bottom line as much as 5 percent of a hospital's budget may go to paying for nursing turnover costs.

The study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, reports on 1,933 newly licensed registered nurses working in hospitals in 34 states and Washington, DC. The researchers found that nurses' intent to stay is influenced by their perceptions of their working conditions, specific workplace attributes, as well as their personal characteristics and available job opportunities.

"If nurses stay in their jobs, hospitals and the health care system will realize significant savings on costs associated with replacing nursing staff," said Christine Kovner, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor at New York University's College of Nursing and lead author of the study. "More importantly, patient outcomes are at stake because when the nursing staff is destabilized by frequent resignations and high turnover, the disruption and inconsistency of service can have a negative impact on patient care and safety."

In addition to the challenges facing individual hospitals, the unprecendented nationwide nursing shortage means that the U.S. health care system will be unable to meet the projected shortfall of up to half a million nurses by 2024. Kovner said that knowing what positively or negatively affects new nurse retention can help hospital managers better direct their resources and keep their workforce stable.

The study showed that satisfaction, organizational commitment, autonomy, opportunities for promotion and fewer outside job opportunities were related to intention to stay. The researchers also studied factors related to
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Contact: Virginia Bader
vbader@gymr.com
202-745-5115
New York University
Source:Eurekalert

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