Do we really understand how to retain nurses?

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Abstract

Aim

To compare views of nurse executives with those of nurses who have left the profession on the importance of retention strategies.

Background

Although much has been written about nursing turnover, there continues to be dissonance among decision makers as to why nurses leave the profession and what the most crucial issues are for retention.

Method

Factor analysis was undertaken to compare responses of nurse executives with those of nurses employed outside of nursing.

Results

Contract requirements represented the greatest discrepancy, 1.07, followed by legal and employer issues, 1.02; worklife/homelife balance, 0.91; external values and beliefs about nursing, 0.75; and professional practice, 0.29.

Conclusions

A disparity exists between perceptions of nurse executives and those of nurses who have left the profession as to which issues are most critical in retention. We suggest that nurse executives ensure sufficient organizational support for nursing unit managers who are more likely to understand methods of retaining nurses at the clinical interface.

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