Reentry and retention : a study of the relationship between characteristics of re-entry nurses and reemployability in nursing

  • Elizabeth Foley

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between characteristics of refreshed registered nurses and reemployment in the nursing workforce post Refresher programme. The application forms completed by the participants of the six programmes conducted by the ACT Health Authority (ACTHA, now Department of Community Services and Health ACT) provided data for a profile analysis. Employment data was derived mostly from statistics compiled by the Research Officer, Nursing, ACTHA. The findings of this study demonstrated that inactive registered nurses do return to nursing from periods of non-participation as nurses, following completion of Refresher programmes. Moreover, significant numbers of these returning nurses remain in nursing employment. In relation to that aspect of workforce planning which considers sources of supply for the registered nurse labour market an area for further study would be to explore the area of patient care in which the greater concentration of refreshed nurses were to be found post programme: acute care settings or extended care facilities. The study found that predictions of the successful re-entry to nursing of the individual refreshed nurse and of retention in the nursing workforce could not be based on the characteristics of that person, alone. These findings supported the study's hypothesis that there would be no statistically significant difference between the characteristics of refreshed registered nurses who returned to, and remain in, the nursing workforce and those refreshers who either did not re-enter nursing post programme or who left during the following twelve months. The characteristics examined were age, family status, post registration nursing experience, post registration nursing courses, worked as a nurse in the ACT prior to the programme, previous employment status, and time inactive from nursing pre-Refresher programme. Trends were identified which indicated that with some characteristics there was a greater likelihood of post programme reemployability in nursing. Refreshed nurses who re-entered and remained in the nursing workforce tended to be younger. than those not working as nurses. There was a trend for post programme participators in the nursing workforce to have had fewer years of post registration nursing experience and to be more likely not to have obtained post registration nursing qualifications than their counterparts not working in nursing positions. Perhaps not surprisingly the study found that a higher proportion of the refreshers employed as nurses had previously worked at some stage in ACT health care facilities as registered nurses. A somewhat unexpected finding was that amongst the group of refreshed nurses working in nursing the largest contingent had been inactive from nursing for more years than was the case for those not working as nurses. The majority of refreshed registered nurses, whether they were working as nurses post programme or not had a family status of partner/husband and child(ren) and were unemployed before undertaking the Refresher programme. Refreshed registered nurses have provided a source of supply to the nursing workforce during a period of shortage of qualified nurses in the health care system. In the latter part of the 1980's there have been indications that shortage is largely confined to nurses with specialised skills. The findings from this study should assist the nursing profession in deciding the future role of programmes of re-entry for inactive registered nurses who require reskilling for current clinical competence for general patient care areas.
    Date of Award1990
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRobert Irwin (Supervisor)

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