Quality home care, including quality home care services, is dependent on an adequate supply of competent nursing personnel. The Canadian Nurses Association (2002) reported that Canada will have a shortfall of 113,000 RNs by 2016. This problem is exacerbated by an aging workforce with many nurses approaching normal retirement age, nurses who may opt for early retirement, as well as early exit from the workforce by younger nurses to pursue other opportunities (CIHI, 2003; O’Brien-Pallas et al., 2003).
Retaining competent, knowledgeable, and experienced home care nurses as well as retaining and promoting the development of less experienced nurses are both necessary to stabilize the home care nursing workforce. Little is known about factors that influence home care nurse retention. Without such knowledge, it is unlikely that effective retention promoting strategies will be developed and implemented. Understanding those factors that encourage home care nurses to remain employed and discourage them from leaving their jobs is essential before significant investments in home care nurse retention strategies be made. Factors that encourage home care nurses to remain employed likely differ from nurses in other sectors and differ across the three generations of nurses.
The main focus of this research is to identify generation-specific determinants of home care nurse intention to remain employed and to identify preferred generation-specific strategies that promote home care nurse retention.
This research will answer the following two questions:
1. For each generation of home care nurses, what work-related factors, life circumstances, and external conditions encourage nurses to remain in or leave home care employment?
2. What generation-specific strategies are appropriate to promote home care nurse retention?
In the first theory generating phase, home care nurses were invited to participate in focus groups to identify factors influencing their decisions to remain in or leave home care employment and identify strategies that encourage their retention. The end result of phase 1 was identification of a hypothesized theoretical model explaining the determinants of home care nurse retention (below), as well as identification of a tentative list of non-generation specific initiatives to promote home care nurse retention.
Results from Phase 1 focus groups can be found in:
Tourangeau, A., Patterson, E., Rowe, A., Saari, M., & Thomson, H., Macdonald, G., Cranley, L., & Squires, M. (2013 – Epub ahead of print). Factors influencing home care nurse intention to remain employed. Journal of Nursing Management.
Link to Article
In the second phase, a home care nurse survey was mailed to nurses’ homes to test and refine the model / theory developed in phase 1 and to identify generation-specific retention promoting strategies.
If you are a participant and would like to review the information letter for this phase of the study, please click here: Phase 2 Study Information Letter
In the third phase, home care nurses and home care policy / decision makers were invited to participate in a series of knowledge translation sessions to discuss findings from phase 1 and 2. Knowledge translation discussions will be used to validate, interpret, and disseminate study findings. To review PDF slides from the knowledge translation sessions, please click here.
Below is a video of the knowledge translation session held on March 27, 2014.
This study is being conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Toronto, Ann Tourangeau, Mae Squires, Geraldine Macdonald, and from the University of Alberta, Lisa Cranley. The study is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.
This study is now complete.