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What's in a Degree—or Two?

Santandrea, Lisa

Section Editor(s): Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN; Jacobson, Joy

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: May 2009 - Volume 109 - Issue 5 - p 18
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000351490.07229.3b
In the News

Nurses with two bachelor's degrees are more likely to want to stay in their jobs.


Is a nurse with a prior degree in a nonnursing field less likely to switch jobs? Yes, according to a study by Brewer and colleagues in the January– February issue of the Journal of Professional Nursing. They compared two groups of RNs: those with a baccalaureate in nursing and those with a baccalaureate in nursing and one in another field. Among 923 newly licensed RNs working in hospitals across 35 states, those with two degrees were often older and more likely to be married with children and less likely to have plans to leave their current jobs within a year. Most significant, they relied the least on "workgroup cohesion," the "degree to which employees have friends in their immediate work environment."

"The two-degree graduates wanted to go home after their shift," coauthor Christine T. Kovner told AJN, whereas "the single-degree students saw work as a place to develop." The friendships and emotional support sought by the younger RNs were less important to the older cohort, who likely already had a family and support system in place. Kovner considers these findings especially important for organizations that want to retain new graduates—by understanding the needs of each group, they may be better able to meet them. As an example, she brings up the "concierge service" provided to employees by New York–Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, which helps employees arrange for help with errands. "It may be less expensive to make an arrangement to do dry cleaning," she says, "than to spend the money hiring a new nurse after one has quit."

Lisa Santandrea

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.