Enabling the transferability of the magnet concept to an Australian context
It has been identified that the current health professional workforce is insufficient to meet the demands of health care. It is frequently stated that Australia will continue to experience an increasing demand for health care workers over the coming years. The discussion on the issues of recruitment and retention in the health workforce are therefore currently at the forefront of debate. This presentation reports on a research project that examined the workplace of Australian nurses in an attempt to better understand their job satisfaction, intentions about leaving and their views of the practice environment. It builds on the evidence of improved staff and patient outcomes in magnet hospitals by working toward the expansion of the magnet concept in Australia. The study used a mixed methodology in the development, testing and use of the Nursing Work Index-Revised:Australian (NWI-R:A). Findings demonstrate the NWI-R:A as a valid and reliable measure of magnet features with a statistically acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach Alpha 0.76) for the tool. The perceptions of the registered nurse sample (N= 262) consistently showed that they viewed the quality of care, nursing management and leadership and collegial relationships of their workplace as favourable but that nurse participation in decision making and adequacy of resources were lacking. The results also indicate statistically significant relationships between registered nurses perceptions of magnetism, job satisfaction and intention to leave. In summary, this project has established a reliable tool for the measurement of magnetism in Australian facilities and identified significant links between magnet features and factors impacting on nursing staff retention. A more comprehensive understanding of the ways in which nursing staff perceive existing magnet features in their workplace potentially informs targeted development of the nursing practice environments in Australian health facilities.