Monday, September 3, 2007
Retaining the New Graduate RN
In the September issue of the American Journal of Nursing, an article on retaining newly licensed RN's stated that, "while the majority of newly licensed registered nurses (RNs) were “generally pleased” with their jobs, the 13% who left their positions within the first year of employment most often cited poor management and stressful working conditions as the top reasons for their departure". These findings, the researchers say could help guide hospitals in their efforts to improve retention rates. The researchers from New York University and the University of Buffalo analyzed survey data from a random sample of 3,266 RNs in 35 states and the District of Columbia who had passed the licensing exam within the past 18 months and had obtained their license between Aug. 1, 2004, and July 31, 2005. The researchers found that newly licensed RNs reported a mean job satisfaction score of 5.2 out of a possible 7 points, although more than 41% said they would want another position if they were “free to go into any type of job.” In addition, nearly one-fourth of respondents said they planned to switch jobs within two years of accepting their first position, and 37% said they planned to seek a new role within one year—statistics the researchers say are “alarming” and indicate that newly licensed RNs are “not finding what they want in the first year of work.” The researchers add that RNs whose first professional degree was an associate’s degree appeared to be more likely than those with a bachelor’s degree to say they intended to leave their current role.Further highlighting the work conditions that may contribute to nurse turnover, more than half of respondents said they had worked voluntary overtime, and nearly 13% said they had worked mandatory overtime. More than 60%, meanwhile, said they had worked night or evening shifts, while roughly one-fourth said they had sustained at least one needle-stick injury across the last year, and more than 60% reported experiencing on-the-job verbal abuse. One of the study authors says the findings indicate that “the work environment for newly licensed RNs has both positive and negative aspects.” Noting that their future research will aim to develop predictive models of newly licensed RNs’ turnover rates, the researchers conclude that hospitals should invest in “better orientation and management of newly licensed RNs” in an effort to ensure long-term retention (Kovner et al., American Journal of Nursing, September 2007; American Journal of Nursing release, 8/29; University of Buffalo release, 8/29).