Predictors of Actual Turnover in a National Sample of Newly Licensed Registered Nurses Employed in Hospitals

In order to reduce costly turnover among newly-licensed nurses, hospitals should work to improve job satisfaction and organizational commitment before nurses develop the desire to leave their jobs, in addition to working to reduce workplace injuries.

Many investigators have examined nurse retention, but there has been little research into why newly-licensed nurses (NLRNs) leave their initial hospital jobs. This study is based on data from a national sample of 1,653 nurses who were employed by hospitals; were working in their first nursing jobs; and who answered a survey twice, a year apart, in January 2006 and 2007.

Key Findings:

  • Fifteen percent of the sample had left their jobs between the first and second surveys. Scaled nationally, this represents roughly $728 million in annual employer turnover costs, and as much as $2.1 billion over three years.
  • Most NLRNs remain in hospital nursing after a job change, suggesting they want to remain in hospitals but were not satisfied with their initial employment.
  • Of the 40 percent of the sample that had suffered bodily sprains and strains by the time they initially answered the survey, 19 percent of those had left their jobs by the time they answered the second round of the survey.
  • NLRNs were more likely to leave their first jobs if they were employed full-time, but less likely if they worked more hours of voluntary overtime or had more than one job for pay.
  • “Intent to stay” in the current job was associated with lower turnover. Additional analysis revealed that “job satisfaction” and “organizational commitment” were underlying statistically significant variables associated with intent.
  • Working at a Magnet Recognition Award hospital was not associated with reduced turnover.

The authors believe their work highlights several priorities for hospital employers, including: programs, such as “no-lift” guidelines, designed to reduce nurse injury; and efforts to improve job satisfaction and commitment before a nurse develops the intent to leave the job.

The RN Work Project

  1. 1. Newly Licensed RNs' Characteristics, Work Attitudes, and Intentions to Work
  2. 2. Addressing the Complexities of Survey Research
  3. 3. A Comparison of Second-Degree Baccalaureate and Traditional-Baccalaureate New Graduate RNs
  4. 4. Understanding New Registered Nurses' Intent to Stay at Their Jobs
  5. 5. The Nursing Career Process from Application Through the First 2 Years of Employment
  6. 6. What Newly Licensed Registered Nurses Have to Say about Their First Experiences
  7. 7. Moving on, Up, or Out
  8. 8. Generational Differences Among Newly Licensed Registered Nurses
  9. 9. New Nurses Views of Quality Improvement Education
  10. 10. Newly Licensed RNs Describe What They Like Best about Being a Nurse
  11. 11. Early Career RNs' Perceptions of Quality Care in the Hospital Setting
  12. 12. Commuting to Work
  13. 13. State Mandatory Overtime Regulations and Newly Licensed Nurses' Mandatory and Voluntary Overtime and Total Work Hours
  14. 14. Work Environment Factors Other Than Staffing Associated with Nurses' Ratings of Patient Care Quality
  15. 15. The Relative Geographic Immobility of New Registered Nurses Calls for New Strategies to Augment that Workforce
  16. 16. Predictors of Actual Turnover in a National Sample of Newly Licensed Registered Nurses Employed in Hospitals
  17. 17. Charting the Course for Nurses' Achievement of Higher Education Levels
  18. 18. Verbal Abuse From Nurse Colleagues and Work Environment of Early Career Registered Nurses
  19. 19. Early-Career Registered Nurses' Participation in Hospital Quality Improvement Activities
  20. 20. Positive Work Environments of Early-Career Registered Nurses and the Correlation with Physician Verbal Abuse