Maximising retention of nurses

PhD Thesis

Hannigan, Delphine J.. 2013. Maximising retention of nurses. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

Maximising retention of nurses

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorHannigan, Delphine J.
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages253

With a growing global population and an ageing society the retention of nurses within the healthcare system is crucial, even more so than their recruitment. The dissertation examines the possible remedies to the worldwide nurse shortage, before probing the relationship between turnover and turnover intention with a focus of increasing retention. This research used archival data from the Community and Organisational Research and Evaluation Unit (CORE) of the University of Southern Queensland on Queensland Health nurses, as well as obtaining additional data directly from Queensland Health. Employee opinion surveys and turnover data for 2007–2008 from Queensland Health, a large Australian public health organisation, showed a strong correlation between nurses expressing an intention to leave and the actual separation.
Building on this, the supplied information was subjected to a model of organisational health which considered organisational climate upon well-being and turnover. Structural equation modelling created a more predictive and interpretable model to explain the variation in nurses' turnover intention. This model will provide information to enable Queensland Health to allow collaboration and consultation with staff to develop interventions which will reduce turnover and assist retention. Individual morale, individual distress, supportive leadership, and opportunities for professional growth were found to be areas of challenge.
These factors formed part of the 'forces of magnetism', used in the accreditation of hospitals that have been praised for quality outcomes for patients and staff, together with superior business results. 'Magnet' hospitals are recognised in part by an ability to recruit and retain nurses in times of shortage. Further analysis of the above data compared Australia's first magnet hospital with two similarly matched non-magnet hospitals. The organisational health, and thus nurse retention, of the magnet hospital was significantly better than the comparison institutions. This suggests magnet principles have a positive influence on
organisational climate and reducing turnover intent, but further analysis is required to establish causality.
Acknowledging that continued research is required, the dissertation provides an improved model for understanding organisational health and climate within the nursing environment. Such information can aid decision-makers of healthcare services towards a greater retention of nurses, and towards the goal of meeting the need for high quality global care.

Keywordsnurses; nurse turnover; retention; organisational health; healthcare
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420603. Health promotion
420306. Health care administration
420599. Nursing not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Psychology
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Maximising retention of nurses: Australian evidence
Hannigan, Delphine, Patrick, Jeff and Machin, Anthony. 2016. Maximising retention of nurses: Australian evidence. United States. Chamber & Row.
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Hannigan, Delphine J. and Patrick, Jeff. 2009. "Are 'magnet' principles relevant in an Australian setting?" Langford, Peter H., Reynolds, Nicholas J. and Kehoe, James E. (ed.) 8th Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference (IOP 2009): Meeting the Future: Promoting Sustainable Organisational Growth. Sydney, Australia 25 - 28 Jun 2009 Melbourne, Australia.