Factors that influence the career decisions of perioperative nurses
The purpose of this research was to explore factors that influence nurses of different age groups to choose to work and stay in perioperative nursing. A second goal of the study was to determine if there was a difference in the perception of the work environment among perioperative nurses by age groups. A methodologic triangulated research design employing both qualitative (participant interviews) and quantitative (Moos Work Environment Scale [WES]) data collection methods was used for this study. A purposive sample of 247 perioperative registered nurses, 162 veteran nurses born from 1938-1960 and 85 newer nurses born from 1961-1982, working in 11 large, urban operating rooms in the southwest United States, were surveyed using the WES to determine nurses' perceptions of their work environment. A sub-sample of 14 RNs from the survey participants, 7 veteran nurses and 7 newer nurses, contributed data collected from semi-structured interviews using a phenomenological approach. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the sample demographics. Data obtained from the WES were analyzed using tlie WES template. A t-test evaluated the difference in perception of the perioperative work environment between nurses of different age groups. Content analysis was used to gain a more in-depth and specific view of the factors that influence the career decisions of perioperative nurses and to provide validation for the results of the WES. Lastly, using the across-methods triangulation design, all data obtained were analyzed to identify findings common to all methods. The study found that perioperative nurses, of various age groups, are more alike than different in their decision to choose and remain in perioperative nursing and in their perceptions of the work environment. Results of the quantitative portion of the study found that entrenched workforce nurses gave higher ratings than emerging workforce nurses for involvement--the extent to which employees are concerned about and committed to their jobs. Content analysis from the qualitative study revealed themes related to factors that influence nurses of different age groups decisions to become and remain perioperative nurses: Exposure, attractive attributes, getting there, good relationships with team members, making a difference, and learning/challenging environment. No differences were found in the quantitative reports of perception of the work environment versus response to the qualitative interviews. No differences were found in the quantitative reports of perception of the work environment versus response to the qualitative interviews.