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New Graduate Survey: Factors That Influence New Nurses’ Selection of First Clinical Position

Hewitt, Peggy MSN, RN; Lackey, Sarah A. MSN, RN, CCNS; Letvak, Susan PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/NUR.0b013e3182a0bb08
Feature Article

Aim: The aim was to survey nurses with 2 to 3 years’ experience to determine what factors were involved in the choice of their first nursing position and if they were still in that position.

Background: A false sense that the nursing shortage has ended has occurred with nurses delaying retirement until the economy improves. However, the turnover rate still shows 26% of registered nurses leaving their first hospital position within 2 years.

Methods: New graduate nurses were surveyed to determine if nursing was what they expected, what led them to their first position, if they were still in their first position, and factors that may have influenced these decisions. The 159 respondents also commented on their intent to stay and gave free-text responses.

Results: Significant difference was found between the current unit worked with both the unit wanted while in nursing school and the unit wanted upon graduation. Positive and negative narrative comments shed light on factors influencing intent to stay.

Conclusion: Nurses are concerned with ability to deliver safe care, supportive management, and teamwork.

Implications for Nursing Management: Recommendations were made for nursing management in creating an environment of continued learning and teamwork to support new graduate nurses.

Author Affiliations: Clinical Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Staff Nurse (Ms Hewitt), Cardiac Unit; and Magnet Program Director and Nursing Newsletter Editor, Cone Health (Ms Lackey); and Associate Professor and Interim Department Head, Adult Health Nursing (Dr Letvak), University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Funding for this research project was granted by the Gamma Zeta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. Permission was received from the Institutional Review Board of Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Peggy Hewitt, MSN, RN, University of North Carolina at Greensboro/Cone Health, 1200 North Elm St, Greensboro, NC 27410 (

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins