• health manpower;
  • long-term care;
  • nurse aides;
  • retention;
  • turnover

Meyer D., Raffle H. & Ware L.J. (2014) Journal of Nursing Management 22, 769–778 The first year: employment patterns and job perceptions of nursing assistants in a rural setting

Aim  The aim of this study was to follow rural certified nursing assistants (CNAs) (= 123) in the United States for 1 year post-training to identify retention and turnover issues in the long-term care (LTC) setting by exploring the CNAs’ perceptions of the LTC work experience.

Background  Turnover among CNAs impacts the quality of care, imposes a financial burden on facilities and taxpayers, and creates increased stress and workloads on those who remain.

Method  A longitudinal survey design was used to track individuals completing CNA training for 1 year.

Results  At 1 year post-training, 53.7% of respondents currently worked in LTC, 30.9% worked in LTC and left, and the remaining 15.4% never worked in LTC.

Conclusion  While the training site does not appear to impact retention, the first 6 months of employment appear critical. The CNAs cited pay as a reason for leaving LTC, but better pay did not characterize the jobs taken by the CNAs who left.

Implications for nursing management  This study highlights the importance of the first 6 months of employment to retention and provides practical information for nurse managers evaluating the resource-effectiveness of hosting training programmes. Additionally, the key issues influencing retention were identified and practical suggestions for nurse managers to improve retention are provided.