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The newly-licensed registered nurse workforce: Looking back to move forward

Published:December 30, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2022.11.008

      Highlights

      • Newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs) are a vital health human resource
      • NLRNs continue to leave their positions within the first year
      • The NLRN workforce is slightly more diverse, seeking a BSN as the first degree, and funding their initial education with federal loans.
      • NLRNs cite inadequate staffing, stressful work environments, burnout, and salary as the reasons for leaving the first job.
      • NLRNs cite a balanced schedule, experience in the job, and a sense of community with peers as reasons why they stay.

      Abstract

      Background

      Newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs) are a vital health human resource necessary for the sustainability of the nursing workforce. There are challenges associated with the transition of NLRNs into practice; yet, new nurses continue to leave their positions within the first year. To compound the situation, a global pandemic hit in 2020. To leverage a sustainable future for our nursing workforce we must examine workforce data of NLRNs.

      Purpose

      The purpose of this descriptive study was to review the most recent national source of workforce data to determine if the data reveals insight to help renew the focus on the NLRN workforce.

      Methods

      This descriptive study was a secondary analysis of demographic, education, employment, and work environment variables from the 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses.

      Findings

      The NLRN workforce is slightly more diverse, seeking a BSN as the first degree, and funding their initial education with federal loans. NLRNs cite inadequate staffing, stressful work environments, burnout, and salary as the reasons for leaving the first job. NLRNs cite a balanced schedule, experience in the job, and a sense of community with peers as reasons why they stay.

      Discussion

      This study joins the decades of literature that points to a small group of problems that account for the overwhelming majority or nursing turnover and attrition. After analyzing the data, the authors pose several questions to readers for consideration about the NLRN workforce. The authors' hope is to garner renewed attention to the issues facing NLRNs

      Keywords

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