New Nurses

Has the Recession Increased Their Commitment to Their Jobs?

Efforts to retain newly-licensed Registered Nurses (RNs) are important for employers to consider now—moving through the recession—to ensure an adequate nurse workforce in the future.Two cohorts of newly-licensed RNs from 2006 and 2009 were examined to evaluate their perceptions of job opportunity, satisfaction with their jobs, and intent to stay with their current employers. The first cohort was studied in 2006 before the recession and the second cohort was studied in 2009 during the recession. Survey questions included topics such as personal characteristics, work attributes, work attitudes, and job opportunities.

Key Findings:

  • The later cohort (studied during the recession) had a higher mean level of intent to stay. It is likely that this result is related to the recession and a perceived decrease in availability of nursing jobs.
  • Interestingly, even after adjusting for inflation, there was no increase in wages, nor was there a difference in the reported level of job satisfaction between the two cohorts.

Data for the two cohorts was captured over a limited period of time and from a small number of states. Also, the results were not conclusive of the general nurse population as this study only examined newly-licensed RNs. Programs aimed at increasing nurse retention are important now, before an ease to the recession begins to mitigate a nursing shortage in the future.