1. Humphrey, Carolyn J. MS, RN, FAAN

Article Content

In this month's issue we're publishing HHN's first original study, Home Care Nurses' Perceptions of Agency and Supervisory Characteristics: Working in the Rain. The background of how this current study developed is an excellent example of how networking and brainstorming with colleagues can result in new ways to change home care nursing practice and agency processes through research.


When I scheduled Dr. Linda Flynn's study, Agency Characteristics Most Valued by Home Care Nurses: Findings of a National Study in our December 2003 issue, I was so excited about her findings that I sent the manuscript to several board members, including Dr. Marilyn Stoner from California. Marilyn, other board members, and I had several conversations about the study findings at the National Association for Home Care Convention in October 2003.


We wondered, "How were the 10 agency characteristics Dr. Flynn identified as most valuable to home care nurses being implemented in agencies across the country?" You'll find the answer to this question in Dr. Stoner's study in this issue as well as implications for future planning and research.


Perhaps the most troubling finding was when participants' were asked to "indicate the ways supervisors in your agency demonstrate strong and supportive administration." Scoring the characteristics of 1) dedicated to quality care, 2) are experienced, and 3) are enthusiastic and passionate regarding home care, respondents rated supervisors highest overall for these characteristics with RNs falling a bit lower; administrator's ranking was around 15% for each category.


Are we to understand from these findings that our administrators are inexperienced, not dedicated to quality care, and don't show signs of enthusiasm and passion? Hopefully this is not the case; however, this and other findings must be considered.


Although this study was conducted prior to publication of Dr. Flynn's work, some of the findings are very troubling. In my March 2004 editorial (Is There Something Magical About Recruiting and Retaining Home Care Nurse?) I commented that we know what to do to retain nurses, we simply have to apply it to our agencies.


Although more research needs to be done, this study's outcomes should be carefully considered by home care clinicians, managers, and administrators. Recruiting and retaining excellent nursing staff is critical to keeping home care a viable alternative to other types of patient care. I'm proud to share the results of HHN's first study. Please share your responses to this and other articles with me as well as subjects you'd like to see us undertake in future studies at