Tough Job Market for California's Newly Licensed RNs
New survey research from California suggests that the lingering effects of the recession continue to suppress hiring of new nurses.
The California Institute for Nursing & Health Care conducted the survey, gathering data from almost a fifth of nurses licensed in the state between April 2010 and August 2011. Key findings include:
Results from the survey are based on responses given in the fall of 2011 from 1,492 newly licensed nurses in the state.
Nurse 'Presenteeism' and Its Effect on the Quality of Care
A number of studies in recent years have demonstrated that nurse staffing levels have an effect on the quality of care hospital patients receive. But new research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) explores what happens when nurses come to work despite personal health problems, asking how such so-called "presenteeism" affects the quality of care?
Susan Levtak, PhD, led a group of researchers collecting survey data from 1,171 hospital nurses in North Carolina. The survey asked nurses about their workplace, including questions about patient safety and the quality of care. It also asked about nurses' own health while on the job, with questions focused on depression, because it can cause workers to be distracted on the job, and physical pain from musculoskeletal problems that might restrict nurses' activities in the hospital.
The researchers found that 71 percent of nurses in North Carolina hospitals reported working while suffering from musculoskeletal pain, with nearly 18 percent working through pain that they rated as a "5" on an 11-point scale. Similarly, 18 percent of nurses in the study reported suffering from depression, greatly exceeding the 9 percent rate cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the U.S. population in general. The researchers also found that nurses' health affected the quality of care. They wrote: "Our most significant finding was that nurse presenteeism was significantly associated with nursing-sensitive quality-of-care indicators. Specifically, presenteeism was associated with an increase in medication errors and patient falls, and with lower self-reported quality of care…. [Our study] demonstrates that nurses' health affects work productivity, which in turn affects quality of care. Clearly, then, keeping RNs healthy and addressing presenteeism should be priorities."
The study appears in the February issue of the American Journal of Nursing.