Home and Community Care Digest
Methods: Researchers distributed a survey questionnaire to all long-term care facilities and hospitals in Canada with over 25 beds. 232 hospitals and 473 long-term care facilities participated in the study. Nursing managers at each facility reported the estimated rates of RN turnover and vacancy over a twelve month period. Involuntary turnover (layoffs) were not examined in the study. Directors of nursing were asked to estimate labour market factors for their geographic area (e.g. labour mobility and the overall supply of RNs in the local area). Nursing directors also completed a scale measuring the extent to which the facility is the local "employer of choice", meaning the organization is considered by RNs as a good place to work.
Findings: The study found that RN vacancy rates were associated with the overall supply of labour in the local market. Labour mobility (i.e. ease by which RNs can move between jobs) was associated with both higher turnover and vacancy rates. Organisations perceived as "employers of choice" tended to have less turnover and lower vacancy rates. Overall, the study showed that the combined effect of these market factors accounted for a small amount of the variation in RN turnover and vacancy rates, indicating that other factors may also need to be considered.
Conclusions: The researchers emphasize two main points: organisations perceived as "employers of choice" retain their employees and are more capable of filling vacancies, and external labour market forces can negatively impact an organizations' ability to recruit and retain valued employees. It should be noted that the results of this study are based on subjective perceptions of nurse managers and directors. While these results indicate relationships between labour market forces and turnover and vacancy rates, they cannot be considered causal and so caution should be used when considering these results.
Reference: Rondeau KV, Williams ES, Wagner TH. Turnover and vacancy rates for registered nurses: Do local labor market factors matter? Health Care Management Review. 2008; 33 (1): 69-78.
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