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Job and Career Satisfaction Predictors for Older Nurses.

Lacey L; AcademyHealth. Meeting (2003 : Nashville, Tenn.).

Abstr AcademyHealth Meet. 2003; 20: abstract no. 898.

North Carolina Center for Nursing, 222 N. Person St., Raleigh, NC 27601 Tel. (919) 715-3523 Fax (919) 715-3528

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE: Research has shown that satisfaction with work and career are important indicators for stability of the workforce. Nurses who are satisfied with the various aspects of their job environment and/or their career choice are less likely to leave their work place or the labor market. In light of the growing nursing shortage, and the general aging of the nursing workforce, understanding the factors that influence job and career satisfaction among older nurses is an important step in retaining that workforce. STUDY DESIGN: This study utilizes a stratified random sample of older registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) holding an active license to practice in North Carolina as of April 1, 2001 and having a valid North Carolina mailing address. The sample was stratified by age groups: 46 to 55, 56 to 65 and 66 to 75. A written questionnaire measuring demographic and employment characteristics, and multiple measures of job and career satisfaction was mailed to each respondent. When necessary, up to three additional follow-up mailings were made. An equal number of RNs and LPNs were sampled: 186 of each type from each age group for a total sample size of 1,116. The adjusted response rate for RNs was 67% (n= 342) and for LPNs 54% (n=303). POPULATION STUDIED: In addition to the age restrictions imposed by the sample frame, the nurses in this study were also required to have received their initial license to practice in 1985 or earlier, giving them a 'professional age' of at least 15 years at the time of the survey. A bias analysis revealed no substantive difference between respondents and the population of older nurses licensed in North Carolina. RNs in North Carolina are very similar in age, race, educational attainment, and employment patterns to the national profile of RNs as measured by the 2000 National Sample Survey of RNs. Analysis was restricted to just those nurses employed in nursing positions and spending at least half of their time in direct patient care activities. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Multiple regression models were run on RNs and LPNs separately, using additive scale measures of job and career satisfaction (Cronbach's alpha > .80) as the dependent variables. The predictive variables were age, marital status (married or not), race (white or not), a subjective assessment of the nurse's physical condition (poor, fair, good), number of years to go until planned retirement age, number of years in their current nursing position, average daily patient load, and the frequency with which short staffing conditions had affected their ability to meet their patients' needs in the last month (measured on a five point scale). The significant predictors of job satisfaction among RNs were years to go until retirement and short staffing conditions (adjusted R-Square = 0.50, p-value = <.0001), controlling for all other factors. For LPNs, age was also a significant predictor but the model was slightly less powerful (adjusted R-Square 0.38, p-value = <.0001). Career satisfaction was predicted by marital status and short staffing conditions for RNs (adjusted R-Square = 0.19, p-value = 0.0001) but by age, years to go until retirement, and short staffing conditions for LPNs (adjusted R-Square = 0.11, p-value = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Short staffing conditions that affect a nurse's ability to meet her patient's needs has a significant and negative relationship with both job satisfaction and career satisfaction among older nurses. In addition, as older nurses near their planned retirement age, job satisfaction and career satisfaction decline. As the United States heads into a demographically inevitable shortage of nurses, and must rely increasingly on an aging nursing workforce to provide care, these factors will exacerbate each other unless both are addressed by employers. IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY, DELIVERY OR PRACTICE: Policies aimed at keeping older nurses actively engaged in the work place must acknowledge and deal with the problems caused by short staffing conditions in order to be successful.

Publication Types:
  • Meeting Abstracts
  • Career Choice
  • Career Mobility
  • Employment
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • North Carolina
  • Nurses
  • Occupations
  • Questionnaires
  • Retirement
  • United States
  • Workplace
  • hsrmtgs
Other ID:
  • GWHSR0004183
UI: 102275862

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