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The motivations to nurse: an exploration of factors amongst undergraduate students, registered nurses and nurse managers

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newton j.m., kelly c.m., kremser a.k., jolly b. & billett s.(2008) Journal of Nursing Management 17, 392–400

The motivations to nurse: an exploration of factors amongst undergraduate students, registered nurses and nurse managers Aim 

To identify what motivates individuals to engage in a nursing career. Background 

Recruitment and retention of nurses is a worldwide concern that is associated with several compounding factors, primarily the high attrition of its new graduates and an ageing workforce. Given these factors, it is necessary to understand why individuals choose to nurse, what keeps them engaged in nursing, and in what ways healthcare systems can support career development and retention. Method 

This paper presents initial interview data from a longitudinal multi method study with 29 undergraduate student nurses, 25 registered nurses (RNs), six Nurse Unit Managers (NUMs) and four Directors of Nursing (DoNs) from four hospitals across a healthcare organization in Australia. Results 

Thematic analysis yielded four key themes that were common to all participants: (1) a desire to help, (2) caring, (3) sense of achievement and (4) self-validation. Conclusions 

These themes represented individuals’ motivation to enter nursing and sustain them in their careers as either nurses or managers. Implications for nursing management 

Managers need to be cognisant of nurses’ underlying values and motivators in addressing recruitment and retention issues. Strategies need to be considered at both unit and organizational levels to ensure that the ‘desire to care’ does not become lost.
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Keywords: career choice; caring; motivation; nurses; workforce

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: ARC Australian Postdoctoral Industry Fellow, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Frankston, Vic. 2: Research Assistant, Southern Health, Melbourne, Vic. 3: Research Assistant, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Frankston, Vic. 4: Professor of Medical Education and Director, Centre for Medical and Health Science Education, Monash University, Clayton, Vic. 5: Professor of Adult and Vocational Education, School of Education and Professional Studies, Faculty of Education, Griffith University, Qld, Australia

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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