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Keywords:

  • commitment;
  • community health nursing;
  • community/public health nurses;
  • empowerment;
  • nursing workforce;
  • recruitment and retention;
  • tenure;
  • workforce capacity

ABSTRACT Objective: A descriptive, nonexperimental study of community/public health nurses' (C/PHN) perceptions of their work and their workplace was conducted for the purpose of identifying factors that may affect tenure intention and, by extension, health care delivery, at a time when nursing workforce capacity is in crisis, a subject not studied well among the C/PHN workforce. It was thought that findings would potentially contribute to decisions about curriculum development, hiring practices, and work design by nurse educators, leaders, and administrators. Spreitzer's Theory of Structural and Psychological Empowerment and Meyer and Allen's Commitment theory were utilized together as a framework.

Design and Sample: A paper-pen survey was mailed to 688 C/PHNs in 10 states seeking national accreditation serving in community-oriented and population-focused roles and selected randomly in local health departments with a census of 10 or more eligible nurses. The return of 478 completed surveys yielded a response rate of 76%.

Measures: Data were examined with descriptive statistics, correlation, and multiple logistic regression methods.

Results: Results revealed 1/3 of C/PHNs were in some way considering leaving the job in spite of significant relationships among empowerment factors and between empowerment and commitment factors.

Conclusions: These data beg for a clearer understanding of C/PHNs' perceptions of empowerment and the reasons for intent to leave.