June 8, 2005

Home Care Managers Should Implement Strategies to Reduce High Nurse Turnover

NEWARK, N.J. "“ Home care managers and administrators should design and implement a program emphasizing organizational traits to create a culture of nurse retention and reduce high nurse turnover, according to a study conducted by Linda Flynn, a Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member.

The study, "The Importance of Work Environment: Evidenced-Based Strategies for Enhancing Nurse Retention," is featured in the June issue of Home Healthcare Nurse (volume 23, issue 5).

"The increasing demand for home care services and a growing shortage of nurses are forcing home care administrators to re-evaluate nurse recruitment and retention strategies," said Flynn, assistant professor at the College of Nursing at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. "Emphasizing work environment, this study offers evidence-based recommendations for creating a culture of nurse retention in home health care agencies."

Almost two decades of research, based on the Nursing Work Index-Revised (NWI-R), indicates that organizational traits such as professional autonomy, collaborative relationships with physicians, and access to resources needed to provide quality care are associated with higher nurse retention and lower-inpatient mortality in hospitals. Little is known, however, regarding the impact of these same organizational traits on nurses and patients in other settings, such as home health care agencies.

According to the survey, the most important work environment attributes include working with nurses who are clinically competent; a good orientation program for newly employed nurses; a plan of care that is accessible and up-to-date for all patients; and having enough registered nurses (RNs) on staff to provide quality care.

"In this study, once I identified those 10 traits that are most important to these home care nurses," said Linda Flynn, a Center Valley, PA resident, "I wanted to explain to managers how they can bolster support for their nurses and their practice by incorporating these traits in their work environment."

The current study is the third phase of a multi-faceted investigation funded by the American Nurses Foundation. Subsequent studies will investigate the effects of these traits on the outcomes of patient care in home health care services.

From its headquarters at Rutgers Newark, Rutgers College of Nursing offers a broad range of academic programs on all three Rutgers campuses. The college offers a master's program with unique practitioner specialties and the only doctoral (Ph.D) nursing degree in New Jersey.

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