Thursday, 15 December 2011

Misaligned values: why NSW rural nurses resign ?

Dr Susan Bragg recently explored the persistent problem of nursing workforce shortages due to challenges in retaining staff, especially in rural areas, in her CSU PhD thesis, "Degree of value alignment : why nurses resign: a grounded theory study of rural nurses' resignations." She based her study on previous research that indicated job dissatisfaction is implicit in nurse resignations from rural hospitals, however the identification of the underlying reasons that contribute to job dissatisfaction has remained elusive.

"My findings indicate that nurses resign from NSW rural hospitals when hospital values change and nurses are unable to realign their values to the hospitals. The main value held by the nurses I interviewed was to provide a high standard of patient care, but nurses found it increasingly difficult to do so due to changes in rural hospitals."

"These changes included rural area health service restructures, centralisation of budgets and resources, cumbersome hierarchies and management structures that inhibit communication and decision making, outdated and ineffective operating systems, insufficient and inexperienced staff, bullying, and a lack of connectedness and shared vision between nurse and hospital."

Dr Bragg explained that the theory emerges around the core category of "conflicting values" which explains the conflict between nurses' personal values - how nurses perceive nursing should occur, and organisational values - how the hospital enables nurses to perform their duties.

Press release

Full thesis

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