Nurses from different generations consider varying factors when deciding whether to stay in their job, although they all are influenced by "a strong attachment to healing," a recent study found.
For the study—which was published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing (JAN)—Australian researchers surveyed 900 nurses from seven private hospitals, dividing participants into three groups based on age. Nurses between ages 44 and 46 were deemed Baby Boomers, those between 29 and 43 were considered Generation X, and RNs under 29 were called Generation Y.
According to the findings, six independent variables influenced nurses' intentions to keep working: work-family conflict, on-the-job autonomy, commitment to healing, the importance of working to the individual, supervisor-subordinate relationship, and interpersonal relationships with coworkers. The nurses were not influenced by flexible working arrangements, the study found.
The results showed that older nurses tended to be influenced by a larger number of factors than younger staff. For example, five independent variables were identified in the Baby Boomer group, while two independent variables were identified in the Generation X group. Commitment to healing was the only independent variable identified across all three age groups.
"We believe that the secret to improving hospital nurse retention rates is to build on this commitment to the nursing profession and to tackle the specific variables identified by our study for the three generations of nurses," the authors write.
The authors say the findings could provide insight for developed countries that currently are suffering a nursing shortage. According to the American Nurses Association, only 80% of educated and licensed nurses in the U.S. are working as RNs (Shacklock et al., JAN, January 2012; JAN release, 1/12; The Press Association/NursingTimes, 1/18).