Attracting and retaining qualified nurses in aged and dementia care: outcomes from an Australian study

Authors

  • Lynn Chenoweth RN, PhD,

    Professor, Director, Corresponding author
    1. Aged & Extended Care Nursing, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    2. Health & Ageing Research Unit, South Eastern Sydney Local Area Health Service, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    • Correspondence

      Lynn Chenoweth

      Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health

      University of Technology Sydney

      PO Box 222

      Lindfield

      NSW 2070

      Australia

      E-mail: Lynn.Chenoweth@uts.edu.au

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Teri Merlyn PhD,

    Research Assistant
    1. University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Yun-Hee Jeon RN, PhD,

    Associate Professor
    1. Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Fiona Tait BApplSci (Counselling),

    Research Assistant
    1. University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Christine Duffield RN, PhD

    Associate Dean (Research) and Director
    1. Centre for Health Services Management, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Aim

To identify key issues and factors affecting retention of qualified nurses who care for older people and persons with dementia in Australian acute, subacute, community and residential health-care settings.

Background

As the number of older people with chronic conditions needing health care continues to increase research is needed to optimize nurse retention.

Methods

Qualified nurses were surveyed with a set of items derived from four published nurse workforce questionnaires (Cronbach's alpha range 0.75–0.96). There were 3983 complete responses and 10 focus groups with 58 volunteer survey respondents.

Results

In addition to reporting a number of workplace issues, nurses also reported reasonable levels of satisfaction. Intrinsic factors related to caregiving, work relations and colleague support. Extrinsic factors included professional opportunities and organisational support.

Conclusions

Altruism is a primary motivation for choosing to nurse older people and persons with dementia. Nurses are most positive when they feel valued and supported by their organisation and colleagues, through education, training, supervision, mentoring opportunities and appropriate remuneration.

Implications for nursing management

Nursing managers need to take positive steps to address the organisational factors outlined in this paper that either inhibit or promote nurse retention.

Ancillary