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Researchers surveyed 3,266 nurses who'd been licensed for 18 months or less to learn how many new nurses were leaving their positions, why they were leaving, and what facilities can do to retain them. About 85% worked in a hospital. The 610 nurses who'd already left their first nursing job cited these reasons:

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* poor management, 42%


* stressful working conditions, 37%


* desire to experience a different clinical area, 34%.



Almost 13% said they worked mandatory overtime and 51% said they worked voluntary overtime. About two-thirds of nurses said their work interfered with family life from 1 to 4 days per month.


New nurses also reported experiencing significant on-the-job hazards, including:


* verbal abuse, 62%


* bruise or contusion, 46%


* needle-stick injury, 25%


* cut or laceration, 21%.



About 25% said it was "difficult or impossible" to do their jobs at least once a week because of a lack of supplies. Although most newly licensed nurses seemed satisfied with their career choice, a significant minority-41%-said they'd choose a different path.


The researchers conclude that "investing in better orientation and management may be the key" to retaining newly licensed RNs in hospitals. For more about what nurses value in a job, see the "Nursing 2007 Job Satisfaction Survey Report" on page 43 of this issue.




Kovner CT, et al., Newly licensed RNs' characteristics, work attitudes, and intentions to work, American Journal of Nursing, September 2007.