Nurses' Intent to Stay in the Acute Care Setting

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 4:25 PM

Cynthia Cummings, EdD, RN
Nursing, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the workplace stressors most highly correlated with a nurse's intent to stay in the acute care environment.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discuss possible methods to reduce workplace stress and improve a nurse's desire to stay at the institution.

Purpose: Many stressors affect the lives of acute care nurses everyday. The impact of these stressors can influence a nurse’s retention in the acute care setting. The current loss of nurses in the hospital setting is a critical problem, which dramatically affects the health care community. This presentation will review the results of a combined quantitative and qualitative descriptive study involving 234 nurses in Northeast Florida.

A 51 item online survey was utilized to determine the nurses’ intent to stay in the acute care setting. The survey was devised from two established tools: Moral Distress Survey (Corley, 1995) and Health Professions Stress Inventory (Wolfgang, 1988). The participants were asked to rate each item by frequency and intensity of occurrence.  The nurses were also given the opportunity to describe stressful events in their nursing career.  A variety of statistical methods were employed to better understand the relationship between workplace stress and intent to stay.

Results: The results demonstrated that nurses’ experience a number of stressors and these stressors impact their intent to stay at an institution (p<.001).  Some of the most highly correlated factors related to the intensity of morally distressing events and the lack of professional recognition.  In addition, there was a strong correlation between the intensity of patient care issues and the nurse’s perception of confidence.
Conclusion:  In all, the study provided valuable information into the stressors that nurses’ experience in the workplace and their qualitative responses underscore the degree and types of events that they have encountered.  These responses provide insight into the emotions and intensity of the events that nurses have experienced and undoubtedly play a role in their intent to remain in an acute care setting. Nursing leaders must be cognizant of these issues and strive to lessen the stress encountered in the institutional workplace.