New graduate nurses currently experience a stressful transition into the workforce, resulting in high levels of burnout and job turnover in their first year of practice.
This study tested a theoretical model of new graduate nurses’ worklife derived from the job demands–resources model to better understand how job demands (workload and bullying), job resources (job control and supportive professional practice environments), and a personal resource (psychological capital) combine to influence new graduate experiences of burnout and work engagement and, ultimately, health and job outcomes.
A descriptive correlational design was used to test the hypothesized model in a sample of newly graduated nurses (N = 420) working in acute care hospitals in Ontario, Canada. Data were collected from July to November 2009. Participants were mailed questionnaires to their home address using the Total Design Method to improve response rates. All variables were measured using standardized questionnaires, and structural equation modeling was used to test the model.
The final model fit statistics partially supported the original hypothesized model. In the final model, job demands (workload and bullying) predicted burnout and, subsequently, poor mental health. Job resources (supportive practice environment and control) predicted work engagement and, subsequently, lower turnover intentions. Burnout also was a significant predictor of turnover intent (a crossover effect). Furthermore, personal resources (psychological capital) significantly influenced both burnout and work engagement.
The model suggests that managerial strategies targeted at specific job demands and resources can create workplace environments that promote work engagement and prevent burnout to support the retention and well-being of the new graduate nurse population.
Heather K. Spence Laschinger, RN, PhD, FAAN, FCAHS, Distinguished University Professor and Nursing Research Chair in Health Human Resources Optimization, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashley L. Grau, MSc, is Research Associate, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.
Joan Finegan, PhD, is Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences and Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.
Piotr Wilk, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.
This study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.