Newly Licensed RNs' Characteristics, Work Attitudes, and Intentions to Work

In this article, researchers presented findings from the first wave of a three-year panel study on the work experience of newly licensed nurses. A randomly selected sample of 3,266 newly licensed RNs from 60 sites across the country participated in the study. RNs completed a multipage survey that addressed several aspects of their current employment.

Key Findings:

  • The majority of study participants held associate's degrees (58.1%). Approximately one-third of the RNs obtained bachelor's degree (37.6%) while 4.3 percent had professional degrees.
  • Study participants worked at their jobs for an average of 9.6 months. Almost 85 percent of RNs worked in inpatient hospitals.
  • The average job satisfaction rating for the study sample was 5.2 on a 7-point scale. RNs rated their intent to remain at their current job an average of 3.4 on a 5-point scale.
  • Despite relatively high levels of job satisfaction, 37 percent of RNs stated they might look for another job within the year.
  • RNs reported verbal abuse as the most frequently encountered injury at work (62%); 21 percent of study participants suffered cuts or lacerations and 25 percent detailed one or more needle-sticks.
  • RNs described high work-group cohesion (4.1 on a 5-point scale) but somewhat lower support from supervisors (3.6 on a 5-point scale).
  • Retention of newly licensed RNs at hospitals might be improved with enhanced job orientation and management.