The sample demographics for new graduates by year of practice in Ontario hospitals are presented in Table 2. On average, new graduates were 28 years of age and held a baccalaureate nursing degree (98%). The large proportion of university-prepared nurses reflects a provincial policy designating the baccalaureate degree as entry to practice by 2005 (College of Nurses of Ontario 2008); most worked full time (55 and 68%), primarily in medical–surgical units (58 and 53%) and the majority (62 and 57%) indicated that nursing was their first career choice and felt prepared to manage their work as a nurse as a result of their education.
Table 2. Demographic variables
| ||First year experience||Second year experience|
|Highest degree received|
| Full time||84||54.9||128||67.7|
| Part time||54||35.3||40||21.2|
| Critical Care||28||18.3||50||26.5|
| Mental Health||12||7.8||11||5.8|
| Other Hospital Unit||5||3.3||9||4.8|
|Hours per week|
| <20 hours||9||5.9||4||2.1|
| 20–39 hours||96||62.7||123||65.1|
| More than 39 hours||45||29.4||55||29.1|
|Nursing first career choice|
The means and standard deviations (SDs) for the major study variables by year of practice are presented in Table 3. Overall perceived access to structurally empowering conditions in their workplace was moderate, with access to opportunity to learn and grow reported as the most empowering work structure, and access to support and resources the lowest. Although all means were higher for new graduate nurses in their second year of experience (with the exception of resources), only access to opportunity differed significantly, t(339) = −2.26, P < 0.05. Similarly, nurses rated the combined six areas of worklife in the midrange of the scale, with reasonable workload rated the lowest, followed by fairness, and community, reward, and personal-organizational value congruence rated highest. New graduates rated their immediate supervisors’ authentic leadership as moderate, with significantly higher scores on all but the self-awareness subscale [t(332) = −1.54, P = 0.13), for the group in their second year of practice. They also rated their levels of core self-evaluation positively, with significantly higher CSE for the second year nurses, t(340) = −2.45, P < 0.05.
Table 3. Means, Standard deviations and frequencies for major study variables
| ||Range||Year I||Year II|
|Areas of worklife||1–5||3.16||0.56||3.24||0.45|
| Balanced processing||0–4||2.32||1.07||2.54||0.95|
|Core self evaluation||1–7||4.89||0.87||5.11||0.82|
| Weeks of orientation|| ||10.45||10.28||10.90||9.31|
| Critical care|| ||16.37||11.55||13.84||9.66|
| Non-critical care|| ||9.25||9.60||9.82||8.82|
|Number of preceptors|| ||1.87||1.50||2.01||1.62|
|Burnout||0–6|| || || || |
| Emotional exhaustion||0–6||2.87||1.66||2.92||1.38|
| Personal efficacy||0–6||4.54||0.98||4.68||0.88|
|Incivility||1–5|| || || || |
| Personal bullying||1–5||1.45||0.67||1.37||0.47|
| Work-related bullying||1–5||1.89||0.82||1.95||0.66|
| Physical bullying||1–5||1.41||0.62||1.41||0.66|
|Physical health symptoms||1–6||2.68||1.08||2.77||0.93|
|Mental health symptoms||1–6||2.47||0.97||2.43||0.87|
|Job turnover intentions||1–5||2.72||1.26||2.61||1.28|
|Career turnover intentions||1–5||1.53||0.75||1.51||0.71|
|Transition support programs|| ||N||%||N||%|
|NGGI new graduate residency programme|
| Yes|| ||104||68.0||140||74.1|
| No|| ||46||30.1||44||23.3|
| Percent yes|| ||151||98.7||185||97.9|
|Orientation met needs|
| Completely|| ||49||32.0||89||47.1|
| Somewhat|| ||91||59.5||87||46.0|
| Not at all|| ||12||7.8||10||5.3|
|Attended educational session on:|
| Professional behaviours/ethics|| ||37||24.2||53||28.0|
| Networking for career success|| ||9||5.9||14||7.4|
| Learning delegation skills|| ||19||12.4||20||10.6|
| Communication skills|| ||17||11.1||19||10.1|
| Stress management and coping|| ||27||17.6||24||12.7|
| Did not attend any of the above|| ||85||55.6||103||54.5|
New graduates reported access to organizational structures designed to support their transition to the workforce. Almost all nurses received a formal orientation, which averaged approximately 10 weeks (somewhat longer in critical care areas). Most felt their orientation either somewhat or completely met their needs. On average, they had two preceptors and most participated in a government supported programme for newly graduated nurses (a 6-month supernumerary position in a hospital setting). Most had not had the opportunity to attend seminars on topics helpful for transitioning to their new roles, such as stress management, communication skills and networking for career success.
New graduates in both groups reported moderate levels of work engagement, rating the dedication subscale highest. They also reported moderately high levels of burnout, with moderately high levels (but not severe) of emotional exhaustion.
In terms of workplace violence, new graduates experienced relatively low levels of incivility, both from their supervisors and their coworkers. Thirty-nine per cent of nurses in their first year and 51% of nurses in their second year reported witnessing bullying, but only 24 and 27%, respectively, reported being subjected to bullying themselves. Scores on the Negative Acts Questionnaire reflect relatively low rates of bullying, with the highest scores for both groups on work-related bullying. Although the difference between first and second year reports of witnessing bullying was significant χ2 (1, N = 336) = 4.09, P < 0.05) first and second year nurses did not differ significantly on personal exposure to bullying.
Both nursing cohorts reported moderate levels of negative physical and mental health symptoms, with no significant differences between groups. However, they rated their overall health as fairly good to good.
Nurses in our sample were not dissatisfied with their jobs, and nurses in both groups reported high levels of satisfaction with their nursing career. This was also reflected in their relatively low intentions to leave their job, and even lower intentions to leave the nursing profession.
Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the combined effects and relative importance of various situational and personal factors as predictors of job and career satisfaction and turnover intentions (see Table 5). To enhance readability only significant predictors are shown (standardized regression coefficients).
Table 5. Regression results for job satisfaction and turnover intentions and career satisfaction and turnover intentions
|Predictor variables||Job satisfaction||Intent to leave the job||Career satisfaction||Intent to leave nursing|
|Final model R-square (R2)||0.586||0.676||0.533||0.398||0.415||0.405||0.398||0.452||0.403||0.339||0.414||0.313|
|Mental health symptoms||–||–||–||–||–||–||−0.12||–||−0.20||0.23||–||0.27|
|Physical health symptoms||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Job turnover intentions||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||0.14||–||–||–||–||–|
|Career turnover intentions||–||–||–||0.17||–||–||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Orientation met needs||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Number of preceptor||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||0.12||–||0.15|
In the combined sample, 59% of the variance in job satisfaction and 40% of the variance in job turnover intent were explained by situational and personal factors. Structural empowerment, authentic leadership, coworker incivility, emotional exhaustion, cynicism and career satisfaction were significant predictors of job satisfaction in the combined group. In comparing first and second year groups, both empowerment and career satisfaction were significant predictors, but supervisor and coworker incivility and emotional exhaustion were only significant predictors in the group in their first year of practice. For second year nurses, cynicism and duration of their orientation were the only significant predictors beyond empowerment and career satisfaction. In terms of job turnover intent, similar amounts of variance were explained across groups (40%). Empowerment and work engagement were significant predictors in both cohorts.
The predictor variables also explained significant amounts of variance in both career satisfaction and turnover intention across groups (31–45%). For the total group, empowerment, work engagement, CSE, emotional exhaustion, cynicism, poor mental health, job satisfaction and turnover intention were significant predictors of career satisfaction. In both cohorts, job satisfaction was the strongest predictor of career satisfaction, but only engagement and low cynicism added significant unexplained variance in the first year group. In the second year group, empowerment, emotional exhaustion, cynicism, mental health and core self-evaluation all explained independent proportions of variance in career satisfaction. In terms of intention to leave the profession, low work engagement, cynicism, poor mental health, job dissatisfaction and a higher number of preceptors were significant predictors in the combined group. In the first year group, only low levels of work engagement significantly predicted intent to leave nursing, whereas poor mental health, cynicism and a higher number of preceptors were significant predictors in the second year group.