Registered Nurse Retention in Long Term Care: A Qualitative Exploration
Registered Nurse (RN) retention continues to be an issue within long-term care (LTC). RNs play a vital role in the overall wellbeing of the aging Ontario population. In 2020, COVID-19 swept the world in a pandemic and the Ontario LTC sector was left with many changing restrictions and regulations that had a large effect on not only the RNs who work there but also the residents who resided in.
This study was conducted to identify what factors contribute to satisfaction and dissatisfaction for RNs in LTC. Also, it aimed to look at factors related to a RN continuing to work in LTC versus leaving the sector. The study was conducted through descriptive phenomenology. Interviews were conducted with participants who were contemplating leaving LTC and participants who were content in their positions.
For those content in their job relationships with residents, co-workers and management were essential for satisfaction. The Ministry of Long-Term Care (MOLTC) and wages were identified as reasons for their dissatisfaction. For the participants contemplating leaving relationships with the residents were their only source of satisfaction. Working conditions, lack of respect and the media were all seen as aiding in dissatisfaction. For both groups the theme of relationships was important to their satisfaction and the theme of systemic challenges brought up dissatisfaction.
Increasing meaningful connections between not only RNs and the residents but also RNs and their co-workers/management may be beneficial in increasing retention. Navigating systemic challenges through advocacy, further research and encouragement of new graduate nurses joining LTC may help to lessen the feelings of dissatisfaction with these RNs.