Recruitment And Retention Of Qualified Nurses In Aged Care

3030 words - 12 pages

Introduction A shortage of nurses is a worldwide recurring problem that negatively affects the health of patients in both short and long-term care. In Australia this is particularly felt in aged care services due to an aging population. According to the Australian Labor Party (ALP) our aged care services are at risk due to the lack of qualified staff which prevents the expansion and development of these services (Official ALP website, 2007). Statistics on nursing jobs and workers indicate many qualified nurses are not working in their field or intend to stop working as nurses. As many as 24,564 nurses are not looking for work in nursing, annual turnover rates are up to 100% in some areas and job vacancy rates are up to 20% (ALP 2007, Judith 2002). These statistics highlight a need to identify factors that would encourage qualified staff to return to or enter the workforce in order to meet future health care demands. This essay looks at the factors involved in the recruitment and retention of nurses and the ways the nursing profession can reduce these issues.Retention of Nurses in Aged Care I. The Perception and Working Conditions in Aged Care The current perceptions and working conditions of aged care are key factors in why there exists a shortage of nurses. It is an area of nursing which is often perceived as having little opportunity to cure patients and to experience the satisfaction of seeing them recover. A large proportion of qualified nurses view the aged care sector negatively (Andrews & Dziegielewski, 2005). Aged care lacks the positive outcomes of other care areas and hence is a key issue contributing to the shortage of nursing. Kuehn (1990) discussed factors related to aged care working conditions such as lack of collegiality and a lack of autonomy as issues in working conditions that contributed to nursing shortages. The lack of collegiality was found to be due to a relative absence of physicians and other health care professionals and registered nurses in acute medical-surgical settings in aged care (Kuehn 1990). The lack of autonomy was demonstrated in the responses to a survey of nursing home administrators that asked: "Who should be consulted in decisions involving managerial and clinical issues?" Nurses were not listed in the responses.Nolan & Keady, 1996 argue that the negative perceptions of aged care will not change until those working in this setting find pride in their place of work and satisfaction in the services they are providing. This indicates better working conditions need to be implemented in order to raise the image of aged care.II. Support and recognition These findings also suggest a lack of support and recognition for nurses in the workplace from both the profession and the wider community. In response to this Kuehn (1990) proposed a wellness model that recognized professional nurses as the keystone to quality care. The model emphasized decision making by nurses and organizational support for further...

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