Newly licensed registered nurses may be more likely to stay in a job that affords them greater variety and autonomy, according to new research.

Investigators with the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing set out to determine factors influencing internal turnover of new nurses in hospitals, citing the expensive problem turnover poses to the healthcare industry. Nearly 30% of the 1,569 nurses surveyed as part of the study changed jobs internally over the study period.

“Turnovers are one of the costliest expenditures in our profession,” said lead researcher Christine T. Kovner, Ph.D., RN, FAAN. “In fact, costs are estimated at $62,000 to $67,000 per departure, amounting to $1.4 to 2.1 billion in expenses for new nurses who leave their first jobs within three years of starting.”

Nurses who had to hold down more than one job for financial reasons were more likely to leave their jobs, results showed. Those RNs whose first degree was a bachelor’s or higher had a higher probability of staying.

The study’s results can point out factors where healthcare managers and focus to improve retention of new nurses, Kovner said.

Other factors positively linked to retention were variety in the job, job satisfaction, negative affectivity, greater autonomy and better perceived relationships between doctors and nurses.

The findings appear in the August issue of the International Journal of Nursing Studies.