Aim: To explore registered nurses' reflections on transitioning from acute to primary health care employment, and future career intentions.
Background: Reforms in primary health care have resulted in increasing demands for a skilled primary health care nursing workforce. To meet shortfalls, acute care nurses are being recruited to primary health care employment, yet little is known about levels of satisfaction and future career intentions.
Method: A sequential mixed methods study consisting of a survey and semi-structured interviews with nurses who transition to primary health care.
Results: Most reported positive experiences, valuing work/life balance, role diversity and patient/family interactions. Limited orientation and support, loss of acute skills and inequitable remuneration were reported negatively. Many respondents indicated an intention to stay in primary health care (87.3%) and nursing (92.6%) for the foreseeable future, whilst others indicated they may leave primary health care as soon as convenient (29.6%).
Conclusion: Our findings provide guidance to managers in seeking strategies to recruit and retain nurses in primary health care employment.
Implications for Nursing Management: To maximize recruitment and retention, managers must consider factors influencing job satisfaction amongst transitioning nurses, and the impact that nurses' past experiences may have on future career intentions in primary health care.