Home Care Nurses' Descriptions of Important Agency Attributes

As the United States population ages and the demand for home health care increases, the nation continues to face a critical shortage of home care nurses. Job dissatisfaction and a high turnover rate among home care nurses has contributed to the crisis, and home health administrators are seeking evidence-based strategies to improve job satisfaction and reduce staffing shortages. One useful strategy may be the “magnet hospital” approach, which created a supportive professional practice environment for nurses. Using this approach, a group of hospitals successfully attracted and retained nurses despite national shortages. To determine if home health agencies might benefit from a similar approach, researchers conducted seven focus groups with 58 home health care staff nurses at six home care agencies located in three states in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Respondents identified six major categories and eight subcategories of organizational attributes important to their practice and job satisfaction. These attributes were similar to those reported in the “magnet hospital” literature and were consistent with key concepts described in theories of professional workforce organization models. While these findings are useful to help administrators design strategies for improving home care nurse satisfaction and retention, information from the limited focus groups cannot be generalized to the larger home care nurse population. Larger scale studies are needed to further explore these findings.