Critical factors that influence staff retention in an acute perioperative environment
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There are a number of factors recognised as significant for nursing staff retention. These include, a lack of organisational care, bullying (commonly referred to as horizontal violence), and high workload acuity. However, there does not appear to be any indication that these factors influence the retention of nurses within the speciality of acute perioperative nursing. A descriptive study using postpositivist methodology and triangulation of methods was designed to answer the question: What are the critical factors that influence staff retention in an acute perioperative environment? Forty-eight (n = 48) perioperative nurses answered a questionnaire in relation to individual needs, provision of nursing care and administration and management. Four (n = 4) nurses subsequently participated in a focus group interview that explored in more depth, the survey data related to the following characteristics: Educational opportunities; Level of workload acuity; Rostering flexibility; Management; Established policies/Quality assurance; Graduate orientation programs and Professional relationships in an acute perioperative setting. Data analysis revealed that > 90% of respondents agreed that these characteristics are important for job satisfaction and influence staff retention in an acute perioperative environment. A sense of belonging appears to be the most important theme that emerged from the qualitative data. Job satisfaction and staff retention are attained when nurses have a sense of belonging in the workplace. To achieve these, nurses need to identify barriers, develop their communication and leadership skills and determine the ideal professional practice model. The themes (Figure 5), "Finding time" and increased "sick leave", in relation to workload acuity are new findings that provide a platform for future research.