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Keywords:

  • employment policy;
  • flexible staffing;
  • full-time employment;
  • stable nursing workforce;
  • workforce integration

Aim  To examine an employer response to a government employment policy, the Nursing Graduate Guarantee (NGG), over a 2-year period (2008–2009 and 2009–2010).

Background  Healthcare organizations rely on a stable supply of nurses to meet their staffing needs. However, employment trends have indicated a propensity for part-time employment. The NGG was created to stimulate full-time employment of new graduate nurses in Ontario, Canada.

Methods  A mixed methods design was used, which included online surveys and focus groups. All healthcare providers (= 1198) were surveyed in 2008–2009 and 2009–2010. Each year, a sample of NGG employers participated in sector-specific focus groups.

Results  Approximately 20% of potential healthcare employers participated in the NGG. Reasons for non-participation included lack of awareness of the initiative and lack of full-time jobs. Barriers to offering full-time employment to new graduates included lack of full-time vacancies and budget constraints.

Conclusions  Employers perceive flexible staffing practices as a way to contain personnel costs but often at the expense of a stable full-time nursing workforce.

Implications for Nursing Management  This research contributes to an understanding of employers’ perspectives on full-time hiring and participation in a government employment policy.