What are the views of Generation Y New Zealand Registered Nurses towards nursing, work and career?
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Background This descriptive exploratory study was undertaken to ascertain the views of Generation Y New Zealand Registered Nurses (Gen Y nurses) towards nursing, work and career. Little empirical data exists about why young New Zealanders choose to become nurses in the 21st century. Further, little is known about their future career plans or their intentions to remain in the nursing workforce. Currently there is a global nursing workforce shortage with indications that shortages will continue into the future. The nursing shortage is occurring at a time when many populations are ageing and placing unprecedented demands on both health care providers and health care systems. Not only are populations ageing, the burden of chronic disease is escalating. However, there is strong evidence highlighting positive patient outcomes when nursing care is provided by registered nurses. Therefore the long term retention of young nurses is of critical importance for both the health care consumer and the profession. Method A nationwide on-line survey was undertaken with 358 Gen Y Nurses from late 2009 to early 2010. Key findings Young New Zealanders are driven by traditional values of altruism, the desire to care for others, the ability to work closely with people, as well as being able to make a strong contribution to society when deciding to become a nurse. Further, they are seeking interesting, challenging and exciting work. Job security, the ongoing demand for nurses, the ability to leave and return, as well as the ability to combine work and family, are also important factors that help them to choose to become nurses. The Gen Y nurses were overwhelmingly satisfied with their decision to become nurses but they are very clear that nursing does not define them. They appear set to remain in the profession for at least five years with many stating that they wish to increase their clinical skills as well as undertake formal postgraduate study. However, while the Gen Y nurses demonstrated a high level of affective commitment towards nursing, they do not show a high level of continuance or normative commitment. It is questionable if they have long term career plans to remain in nursing.
Further, the Gen Y nurses find nursing work to be more stressful and challenging than they anticipated. They expressed concern about nursing salaries, workplace bullying and the impact of shift work on their private lives. They are also concerned about the apparent lack of recognition demonstrated by managers and management of the contribution that nurses make to patient care. A further concern for Gen Y nurses is the lack of understanding by the public about the role of registered nurses. Conclusion Most young New Zealanders who decide to become nurses do not regret their decision to do so. They have chosen to become nurses because of their desire to care for others in a team focused environment with a promise of job security. Many Gen Y nurses are planning on advancing their careers by increasing their clinical skills and academic knowledge. While some are planning to seek promotion, the majority want to remain in a clinical role, at the bedside. While the Gen Y nurses view themselves as career motivated they do not demonstrate a high level of career commitment to nursing. It is therefore imperative that the nursing profession, as well as nursing employers and policy makers, collaborate to design a workplace and work conditions that motivate Gen Y nurses to want to remain in the profession for the long term.