In the aftermath of healthcare restructuring, it is important to pay attention to nurses' perceptions of workplace and professional practice factors that attract nurses and influence their retention. Continuing constraints on cancer care systems make the issue of health human resources an ongoing priority. This paper presents the findings of a follow-up study of a cohort of Canadian oncology nurses that aimed to compare nurses' perceptions of their work environment, job satisfaction and retention over a two-year period. Participants of the follow-up survey represented 65% (397/615) of the initial cohort. Many similar perceptions about the work environment were found over two years; however, at follow-up a larger proportion of nurses reported an absence of enough RNs to provide quality care and a lack of support for innovative ideas. With respect to career status, only 6% (25/397) of the follow-up sample had left oncology nursing. However, the proportion of nurses declaring an intention to leave their current job increased from 6.4% (39/615) on the initial survey to 26% (102/397) on the follow-up survey. Findings suggest that decision-makers need to use both the growing body of workplace knowledge and the input from staff nurses to implement changes that positively influence nurse recruitment and retention. Future research should focus on the implementation and evaluation of strategies that address workplace issues such as nurse staffing adequacy, leadership and organizational commitment.
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