Registered nurse incentives to return to practice in the United States


  • Chia-Chan Kao is currently: Assistant Professor (R.N. MSN, DrPH, PhD), Department of Healthcare Administration, I-Shou University, Taiwan ROC.

  • Heidi Israel is currently Adjunct Instructor/Assistant Professor (PhD RN FNP LCSW) Orthopaedic Surgery at Saint Louis University School of Nursing.

Joanne C. Langan, Saint Louis University School of Nursing, 3525 Caroline Street, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA. Email:


This US study uniquely listened to registered nurses with current licenses who do not work as nurses or are unemployed. An electronic survey was advertised in 13 Boards of Nursing newsletters. Investigated was why nurses left nursing, what would entice them to return to nursing, and what skill review is essential to competent and confident return to nursing practice. Herzberg's theory was used to study factors affecting registered nurses' decision to practise nursing. Data were analysed using SPSS and manifest content analysis. Nurses (n = 127) identified various work conditions as the primary reasons for leaving nursing. Work condition improvement, recognition of one's work, opportunities for professional growth and family needs consideration were identified as key enticing factors for returning to nursing. Many respondents identified needing review of medicines, intravenous skills, new technologies and a refresher course. Acting on their voiced concerns will enhance nurse recruitment and retention.