Moving on, Up, or Out

The United States is projected to have a shortage of 260,000 registered nurses (RNs) by 2025. While new graduates are a vital source of nurses for hospitals, 18 percent of new RNs leave after working one year. Hospital administrators are looking for ways to retain new RNs; a cost-effective strategy to maintain staffing levels and ensure quality patient care.

The researchers surveyed 229 RNs twice during the first two and a half years after licensure to determine factors in their work environment that contributed to job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Nurses dissatisfied at the time the second survey was administered, a year after the first, said that nursing was stressful and too physically and mentally demanding. They felt they were underpaid and unappreciated by more experienced colleagues and physicians. Those satisfied with nursing cited competitive salaries, health insurance benefits and flexible scheduling as reasons for liking their job. They looked forward, however, to escaping the physical demands of bedside nursing by changing jobs or pursing an advanced nursing degree.

To improve retention of second- and third-year RNs, the researchers propose that an advanced residency program be developed to address the changing needs of RNs as they transition from school to the first year of practice and beyond.