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The Effects of Nurses’ Job Satisfaction on Retention: An Australian Perspective

Cowin, Leanne MNS, RGN

Journal of Nursing Administration: May 2002 - Volume 32 - Issue 5 - p 283-291

Objective The effectiveness of any strategy that aims to improve recruitment and retention in the nursing profession will depend in part upon understanding the factors and influences on nurses’ job satisfaction.

Background The nursing work force is aging. The question now commonly asked by the nursing profession worldwide is: Who will replace this work force? Although the number of employed nurses continues to decline, patient acuity and turnover in our healthcare system continues to increase. This increasing dilemma is further deepened by progressively falling annual recruitment of new nurses and has resulted in an alarming shortfall of nurses.

Methods This study used a multigroup longitudinal design to elicit nurses’ attitudes toward their job satisfaction and retention plans.

Results The results revealed that professional status was found to be significant of retention. The results indicated that job satisfaction remained relatively stable with time for experienced nurses (N = 528/332). For new graduates (N = 506/110) the issue of pay became a significant area of dissatisfaction in the transition from student to registered nurse.

Conclusion The results from this study contribute to the expanding body of knowledge that indicates professional status, autonomy, and remuneration are career issues of great concern for nurses and is particularly relevant for the retention of the newly registered nurse.

Author affiliation: Nursing Research Mental Health, South Western Sydney Area Health Service, Sydney, Australia.

Corresponding author: Leanne Cowin, MNS, RGN, Mental Health Administration, Level 1 Health Services Building, Locked Bag 7103, Liverpool BC 1871, NSW, Australia (

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.