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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The mechanisms by which professional development may contribute to critical care nurses' intent to stay Goldsworthy, Sandra June


The current international nursing shortage is worsening and is particularly acute in critical care settings. In Canada, there is a rapidly aging nursing workforce and at the same time a significant shortfall in the number of new graduates to replace the large numbers of retiring nurses. Intensive Care Units have been shown to have the highest turnover rates and there is currently limited scientific evidence on how to retain critical care nurses. Studies have shown that one of the most commonly listed incentives for this group of nurses is organizational support in the form of access to educational opportunities and career development. This study tested a theoretical Critical Care Nurse Retention model that consisted of a professional development intervention, two mediator variables (perceived organizational support and critical care self-efficacy) and three moderator variables (work environment, general self-efficacy and transfer of learning) as mechanisms that may influence intent to stay in the organization, unit and nursing profession. A quasi-experimental longitudinal design was used in a random sample of 363 critical care nurses from multiple hospital sites in Ontario. The 374-hour intervention included an online component, high fidelity simulation, and a preceptored clinical component. ANCOVA and hierarchical regression were used to analyze the hypothesized model. Findings showed the professional development intervention had a direct effect on intent to stay in the unit and intent to stay in the profession. In addition, the model demonstrated the influence of perceived organizational support as a mediator between the relationship of professional development and intent to stay in the profession. Final analysis revealed that the model explained 23% of the variance in intent to stay in the profession. This research provides new evidence supporting the relevance and importance of investing in professional development opportunities and its subsequent impact on intent to stay.

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