New RNs trending more to nursing homes, expert says

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New registered nurses often go to long-term care, Kovner found.
New registered nurses often go to long-term care, Kovner found.

Newly licensed registered nurses are less likely to work in hospitals and more likely to be hired in a nursing home, says a new analysis in the American Journal of Nursing.

Two groups of new RNs responded to a survey: The first received their licenses in 2004-2005, and the second in 2010-2011. While less than 3% of the new RNs worked in a nursing home in 2004-2005, 7.8% of the latter cohort found work in a nursing home.

While the number of new RNs has jumped, retaining them anywhere remains difficult, as more than a quarter leave their first job within two years. Newly registered nurses in the latter group said they were looking for reasonable hours, full-time employment and an organization with a good reputation. More than a third said they chose a place that they worked at as a student. 

All of this offers an opportunity for long-term care, author Christine T. Kovner, Ph.D, RN, FAAN, told McKnight's

“Nursing homes should really encourage local nursing schools to have their students do a rotation in long-term care as a clinical placement,” said Kovner, a professor at the College of Nursing at New York University. “Long-term care should be looking to entice people.”

Conventional wisdom is nursing homes offer desk jobs for nurses, rather than solid clinical experience. One way for LTC to combat this and entice nurses to stay is by offering tuition reimbursement, Kovner noted.


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