Understanding the nursing workforce: A longitudinal study of Australian nurses six years after graduate study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2005, 23 (1), pp. 37 - 43
Issue Date:
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Background: The challenge posed by the worldwide nursing shortage is significant not only for workforce and facility planners, but also for those who educate nurses for practice and nurses themselves. The provision of skilled and competent advanced nurses is clearly a goal of postgraduate education. An increasing shortage of skilled and qualified nursing staff to provide the required level of care is evident in Australia. Objective To determine the impact of graduate education on registered nurses' personal and professional development. Design A longitudinal descriptive and co-relational study of postgraduate nursing students using postal survey. Sample: Five cohorts (1998-2002) of nurses who had graduated from university with a graduate diploma or master of nursing qualification were all surveyed over six years post graduation (n=151). Results: The study showed the greatest motivator to change jobs was greater job satisfaction; self esteem and their ability to carry out their role exceeded their job satisfaction; one quarter wanted to change their career and the strongest facilitator and the strongest barrier to career advancement were their personal situation. Conclusion: This paper focuses on recent career moves, motivation, intentions and influencing factors six years after completion of their tertiary studies. This information is critical in choosing retention strategies and workforce planning.
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