Retention of Nurses in a Rural Environment: The Impact of Job Satisfaction, Resilience, Grit, Engagement, and Rural Fit
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the unique contributions that job satisfaction, resilience, grit, engagement, and rural fit have on nurses’ intention to stay in their unit for the next 6 months and intention to leave the institution in the next 3 years.
Sample: The data come from a network wide survey of RNs and LPNs employed by a rural hospital network in the northeast of the United States. Just over half (n=436, 55%) of the 797 nurses that were employed by the network responded to the survey. The majority (73%) were registered nurses (RNs), worked inpatient (56%) and were female (86%).
Method: Surveys were sent out in paper form and electronically. Nurses responded to questions about their intention to leave their unit in the next 6 months or the organization in the next 3 years, job satisfaction/dissatisfaction, resilience, grit, engagement, and rural fit.
Findings: We found that when considering all factors together, better rural fit predicted less intention of leaving the current unit in the next 6 months and less intent to leave the organization in the next 3 years. The only other predictor of intent to leave the unit in the next 6 months was resilience where nurses who reported themselves as being more resilient were less likely to report intention to leave. The only other predictor of intent to leave the organization in the next 3 years was nurse engagement (i.e., professional growth) where more engaged nurses were less likely to report intention to leave.
Conclusion: Rather than considering variables independently, our multivariate model found that rural fit is paramount in retention of rural nurses. Further, clear and accessible opportunities for professional growth may retain nurse over the long-term despite poor fit with the rural environment.
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