5 factors influencing retention of newly licensed nurses

Researchers examining the internal hospital turnover of nurses — when nurses leave their current assignment to take up new roles or positions within the organization — identified five key factors that influence retention among newly licensed nurses, according to a study published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies.

"About 80 percent of newly licensed nurses find their first work in hospitals," said Christine T. Kovner, PhD, RN, nursing professor at New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing. "Turnovers are one of the costliest expenditures in our profession. In fact, costs are estimated at $62,000 to $67,000 per departure, amounting to $1.4 to 2.1 billion in expenses for new nurses who leave their first jobs within three years of starting."

For the study, researchers examined internal turnover, which is perhaps less understood than organizational turnover, in order to create a broader understanding of nurse retention. Data were compiled from surveys administered to more than 1,000 nurses with a response rate of 58 percent. After analysis, researchers were able to determine the five most influential factors associated with nurse retention.

1. Nurse retention was negatively influenced by holding more than one paying job.

2. Having a bachelor's degree or higher exhibited a positive connection with retention.

3. Workplace autonomy was associated with improved retention.

4. Experiencing some negative affectivity, or non-positive emotions, was associated with improved retention.

5. Retention was positively influenced by the perception of good relations between nurses and physicians.

"Our results point to the variables on which managers can focus to improve unit-level retention of new nurses," said Dr. Kovner.

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