Abstract

The global nursing shortage and statistics indicating a steady increase in the cancer patient workload suggest that the recruitment and retention of oncology nurses is and will be a serious problem. The purpose of this research study was to examine oncology nursing work environments in Canada and to determine the presence of workplace and professional practice factors. A total of 615 oncology nurses responded to a national survey in 2004. The majority of nurses indicated that positive nurse–physician relations and autonomy in clinical decision-making were factors that contributed to job satisfaction and the desire to remain in oncology nursing. However, the findings identified that nurse staffing, the lack of nursing leadership and inadequate opportunities to participate in policy decisions were areas of concern. Differences in work environment perceptions were seen most often when responses were compared across provincial regions.

While the findings support previous research reports that the key to the nursing shortage is attention to nursing work environments, they also emphasize the need for organizations to act now. A follow-up survey was conducted in 2006; analysis of these data will be presented in a future report on nurses' perceptions of their work environments and job satisfaction over time.