Nursing educator retention: The relationship between job embeddedness and intent to stay among nursing educators
Amy S. Hamlin, APRN, FNP-BC
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- Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee, USA
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Session presented on Friday, July 22, 2016: The United States is in the midst of an increasingly worsening shortage of registered nurses, due, in part, to the nursing educator shortage. Though it has not drawn the same attention as the shortage of practicing nurses, the nursing educator shortage is significant because it directly impacts the ability to educate and graduate increased numbers of nurses. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there is a national nursing educator vacancy rate of 7.6% with the Southern region of the United States reporting as high as a 12% vacancy rate (2012). These are noteworthy statistics because a reduced number of nursing educators equates to a lessened ability to educate larger numbers of nursing students. Unfortunately, the nursing educator shortage is not a problem that will be easily fixed. As large numbers of nursing educators leave positions in academia because of retirement or other causes, an inadequate number of qualified educators exist to replace them (National League for Nursing, 2014). As the baby-boom population reaches retirement age, voluntary turn over of nursing educators due to retirement will increase, accelerating the number of vacant positions. The National League for Nursing (2014) reports that approximately 50% of nursing educators intend to retire in the next ten years, with approximately 21% planning to retire within the next five. Additionally, other well documented factors that impact nursing educator attrition include dissatisfaction with academic positions, low job satisfaction, heavy workload, burn out, unrealistic demands and expectations, transitional difficulties from clinical practice to academia, and disparities among salaries (Berent & Anderko, 2011; McDermid, Peters, Jackson, & Daly, 2012; National League for Nursing, 2014). Voluntary turn over of nursing educators is costly for the institution as well as the profession. When nursing educators leave their academic positions, educational institutions incur both direct and indirect costs related to hiring, salary differences, training replacement educators, educator development, and support (Betts & Sikorski, 2008). Indirect costs may include loss of productivity and overall morale - both difficult to quantify (Betts & Sikorski, 2008). In addition to the direct and indirect costs, voluntary turn over also requires an institution to recruit new nursing educators. This can be a challenging and difficult process, often adding to the duties and strain of already taxed programs (Cash et al., 2009). Most institutions would prefer to retain experienced educators rather than to go through the process of hiring, orienting, and developing new ones (Johnsrud & Rosser, 2002). Most research focuses on aging and retirement as the leading causes of nursing educator turn over. Most non-age related research on voluntary turn over focuses on attrition due to attitudinal factors such as job dissatisfaction (Berent & Anderko, 2011; Bittner & O'Connor, 2012; McDermid et al., 2012). This study took a different approach by investigating retention through the lens of job embeddedness and intent to stay. Examining job embeddedness is a new approach to understanding retention for nursing educators. The construct of job embeddedness, first described in the seminal work of Terence Mitchell, is unique because it focuses on non-attitudinal factors that contribute to job permanency. Embedded employees choose to remain employed despite any attitudinal issues or dissatisfiers (Mitchell, Holtom, Sablynski, & Erez, 2001). Job embeddedness considers both on-the-job and off-the-job factors influencing employees' decisions to remain at their jobs. Mitchell et al. (2001) described embeddedness as being intertwined in a web that is often difficult to exit. Intent to stay is the probability that a person will continue employment at the current job (Price & Mueller, 1981). Intent to stay is negatively correlated with turn over (Cowden, Cummings, & Profetto-McGrath, 2011). Persons who intend to stay demonstrate a different level of commitment and less risk for turn over. Studies of intent to stay are important because they identify changeable factors that employers can remedy to improve overall retention. Job embeddedness has been studied within multiple disciplines including military studies, banking, healthcare (non-nursing), and practicing bedside clinical nurses. Consistently, job embeddedness is strongly correlated with higher levels of employee tuRNer (Dawley & Andrews, 2012; Gilmartin, 2013; Zhang, Fried, & Griffeth, 2012). The more enmeshed employees are, the more likely they are to stay in their current position. Consequently, non-embedded employees often result in voluntary turn overs (Smith, Holtom, & Mitchell, 2011; Sun, Zhao, Yang, & Fan, 2011) Purpose: The purpose of this cross-sectional quantitative study was to determine factors that influence nursing educators' intentions to stay. Specifically, this study explored the relationship between job embeddedness and intent to stay using Mitchell's job embeddedness theory as the theoretical foundation. Prior to this study, no research studies have implicitly investigated the relationship of job embeddedness and intent to stay for nursing educators. Methods: This study used a non-experimental, quantitative cross-sectional correlational design with an online survey to investigate job embeddedness (independent variable) and intent to stay (dependent variable) among nursing educators. A researcher-developed combined survey questionnaire, containing 48 closed-ended questions, was utilized. A pilot study was conducted to determine validity and reliability of the combined survey tool. This study used non-probability convenience sampling to select participants. All potential participants (n=1060) were sent e-mail invitations, which included a request to participate in the research, a brief description of the research, and a link to the online survey. This study collected data at a single point in time, over a period of fourteen days, through a web-based survey questionnaire. Five research questions and hypotheses guided the study. Results: The findings suggest that job embeddedness contributes to intent to stay for nursing educators. These findings are important in light of the current and predicted nursing educator shortage. The results from this study provide support for the discussion that job embeddedness affects a nurse educator's probability of staying in a position. Overall, the findings suggest that academic administrators consider measures and interventions that improve overall job embeddedness for nursing educators. Conclusion: This study addressed a gap in the nursing educator literature. Though job embeddedness has been studied with populations of practicing nurses and healthcare workers, research specific to job embeddedness and nursing educators is lacking. Prior to this study, no literature existed that studied the relationship between job embeddedness and intent to stay for nursing educators. The findings of this study are poised to bridge the gap in the current nursing educator literature by suggesting that nursing educators focus on job embeddedness as a component of retention programs. If job embeddedness is able to positively impact intent to stay, as the results of this study suggest, it is reasonable to assume that measures that improve job embeddedness would also enhance intent to stay and overall retention of nursing educators.
Theme: Leading Global Research: Advancing Practice, Advocacy, and Policy
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|Review Type||Abstract Review Only: Reviewed by Event Host|
|Keywords||Nurse Educator Retention;
Intent to Stay;
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