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Retaining home care nurses depends on their job tenure and job satisfaction

Research Activities, February 2009, No. 351

The current nurse shortage will continue into the next decade, and by 2020, nearly 1 in 10 nurses will be needed for home health care. This is due to the growth in the aging population, consumer preferences, and technological advances that will allow increasingly complex care to be provided in homes. Retention of home care nurses will depend on their job tenure and job satisfaction, concludes a new study. Carol Hall Ellenbecker, R.N., Ph.D., and University of Massachusetts colleagues surveyed home health care nurses in six New England States about their job satisfaction.

Most of the nurses were satisfied with their jobs-relationships with patients and peers, professional pride, and autonomy and independence in their jobs. They were somewhat satisfied with their relationships with physicians and the organization, but there was great variability. On average, nurses were least satisfied with their job stress and workload and the salary and benefits they received. More than 69 percent agreed that they had no plans to leave their jobs; 14 percent of them did leave their jobs within a year of initial data collection.

Over 50 percent of the nurses who left their job cited dissatisfaction as their primary reason for leaving, which was primarily due to overwhelming and stressful job demands followed by poor relationships with administrators. Retention was most affected by job tenure, closely followed by job satisfaction, intent to stay, living arrangement, retirement plan, position of direct patient care, nonprofit agency, and area wages. Job satisfaction was most affected by a direct patient-care position, paid time off benefits, opportunity of other jobs, agency size, and a retirement plan. Many of these factors are amenable to administrative intervention, note the researchers. Their study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS13477).

See "Predictors of home healthcare nurse retention," by Dr. Ellenbecker, Frank W. Porell, Ph.D., Linda Samia, R.N., M.S.N., C.N.A.A., Ph.D. and others, in the Second Quarter 2008 Journal of Nursing Scholarship 40(2), pp. 151-160.

Current as of February 2009
Internet Citation: Retaining home care nurses depends on their job tenure and job satisfaction: Research Activities, February 2009, No. 351. February 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.