Abstract

As a large cohort of experienced nurses approaches retirement, it is critical to examine factors that will promote the engagement and empowerment of the newer workforce, allowing them to provide high quality patient care. The authors used a predictive, non-experimental survey design to test a theoretical model in a sample of new graduate nurses. More specifically, the relationships among structural empowerment, six areas of work life (conceptualized as antecedents of work engagement), emotional exhaustion and organizational commitment were examined. As predicted, structural empowerment had a direct positive effect on the areas of work life, which in turn had a direct negative effect on emotional exhaustion. Subsequently, emotional exhaustion had a direct negative effect on commitment. Implications of these findings for nursing administrators are discussed.