Background - There has been a significant growth of the international primary health care (PHC) nursing workforce in recent decades in response to health system reform. However, there has been limited attention paid to strategic workforce growth and evaluation of workforce issues in this setting. Understanding issues like job satisfaction and career intentions are essential to building capacity and skill mix within the workforce. This review sought to explore the literature around job satisfaction and career intentions of registered nurses working in PHC.
Methods - An integrative review was conducted. Electronic databases including: CINAHL, MEDLINE, Scopus and Web of Science, and reference lists of journal publications were searched for peer-reviewed literature published between 2000 and 2016 related to registered nurse job satisfaction and career intentions. Study quality was appraised, before thematic analysis was undertaken to synthesise the findings.
Results - Twenty papers were included in this review. Levels of job satisfaction reported were variable between studies. A range of factors impacted on job satisfaction. Whilst there was agreement on the impact of some factors, there was a lack of consistency between studies on other factors. Four of the six studies which reported career intentions identified that nearly half of their participants intended to leave their current position.
Conclusion - This review identifies gaps in our understanding of job satisfaction and career intentions in PHC nurses. With the growth of the PHC nursing workforce internationally, there is a need for robust, longitudinal workforce research to ensure that employment in this setting is satisfying and that skilled nurses are retained.