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

Article Content

As the national nursing crisis continues, research analyzing nursing practice and the work environment for nurses in acute care hospitals is increasing. The shortage of qualified practicing nurses has also affected home care. On any given day there is a teleconference, article, presentation, or an advisor telling you the "secrets" of recruiting and retaining nurses. Often, this "inside information" is not based on research or even experience-just culled from management books.


Although this material should be considered by home care organizations, nothing is better than research and evidence that focus on real home care nursing practice issues and organizational issues that affect how nurses are allowed to professionally practice, advance the profession, and grow in their expertise.


In a previous editorial, "Is There Something Magical About Recruiting and Retaining Home Care Nurses?" I shared my thoughts on the growing body of home care research available relative to home care nursing job satisfaction (Humphrey, 2004). I also reflected on the new research published in HHN's December 2003 issue by Dr. Linda Flynn, "Agency Characteristics Most Valued by Home Care Nurses," which identified what home care agency traits nurses value. I wanted to encourage agencies, managers, and nurses to become involved in solutions based on research. So what was my overall message then?


Base your recruitment, retention, and management policies on research, especially research conducted directly with and about home care nurses.


Three articles in this issue expand on previous research and move home care research into new areas relative to home care nurses' work environment.


[black small square] Dr. Linda Flynn expands her research examining the importance of the work environment on retaining nurses to also include research-based strategies that can become the foundation to creating a positive work environment.


[black small square] Dr. Susan Tullai-McGuinness and colleagues show that the value of nurses' autonomy in clinical practice decisions and in practice-setting decisions can be the most important aspect of retaining nurses.


[black small square] Ann Anthony and Dr. Paula Milone-Nuzzo share a descriptive study that identifies factors that attracted nurses to home care and factors that contributed to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction in Connecticut.



Having these evidence-based research results and suggestions from the researchers on how these strategies can be implemented should be the cornerstone of your recruitment and retention efforts.




Flynn, L. (2003). Agency characteristics most valued by home care nurses. Home Healthcare Nurse, 21 (12), 812-817.


Humphrey, C. (2004). Is there something magical about recruiting and retaining home care nurses ? Home Healthcare Nurse, 22 (4), 208. [Context Link]