More Recent Nursing Graduates Leaving Profession Early, New Study Finds
More recently graduated nurses are leaving the profession earlier than a decade ago, contributing to the country's nursing shortage, according to a new study in the journal Health Affairs, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Using data collected from the 2000 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, which examined employment patterns and experiences of all 1.9 million full-time registered nurses, researchers found that within four years of graduation, 7.5% of male nurses and 4.1% of female nurses had left the profession, compared to 2% of male nurses and 2.7% of female nurses 10 years ago. Julie Sochalski, study author and University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing associate professor, said that "new nurses begin their careers with high levels of job satisfaction, but the workplace itself seems to be convincing growing numbers to leave the bedside earlier in their careers for other professions." She added, "My concern is that we can talk to people all we want about coming into nursing, but if we don't fix the job fundamentally, it is a lost investment." Sochalski advocates increasing the nursing "pipeline" but also said hospitals and other facilities should focus on retention. American Journal of Nursing Editor Diana Mason said the study offers "more ammunition to say, 'Wake up folks, we have a major public-health crisis" (Uhlman, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.