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Nursing retention and satisfaction: a comparison of nurse satisfaction scores from nationally funded residency programs
High turnover and low job satisfaction are long standing problems within the nursing profession. Attempts at rectifying these trends have included more recently, mentor-based residency programs of various lengths and kinds. This study examines the results of local and national responses to a standardized pre-post survey meant to measure job satisfaction among residency program participants at two distinct points along the new employee continuum. Survey results from participants in the University of California, Davis Medical Center (UCDMC) program were compared to the results at 39 other University Health System Consortium (UHSC) institutions. At UCDMC, participation in the mentoring program was totally voluntary. Nurses were recruited to join the program during their hospital orientation. Invitations were followed up by email and VOCERA contact within one week of orientation. RN participants included new graduates, transfers to new specialty floors and new RN hires from a wide demographic spectrum. Survey scores for UCDMC nurses at the six-month mark were compared to the results at other UHSC institutions and found to be above the McCloskey/Mueller Satisfaction Scale (MMSS) mean in each of seven subscale areas under consideration. Within the organization itself, it was found that UCDHS nurses at the six-month stage registered positive changes in all but one of the satisfaction subscale areas. The exception was the praise and recognition subscale, which declined at six months. The results of the study confirm that praise and recognition are significant factors in RN perceptions of job satisfaction. Residency programs offer great promise for decreasing nursing turnover and increasing job satisfaction. Given the results of the UCDMC study, additional research into the ways that praise and recognition influence job satisfaction and, ultimately, retention should be further explored. An additional policy recommendation to HRSA would be to encourage a more standardized approach to data collection among its funded programs.