The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Future Nursing Career Turnover Intention Among Nursing Students
Lin, Y.; Hu, Z.; Danaee, M.; Alias, H.; Wong, L.P.
Risk Management and Healthcare Policy 14: 3605-3615
A shortage of nurses has been a major global concern, particularly during pandemics. Nursing students turning away from the nursing profession upon graduation may exacerbate nursing workforce shortfalls. The main objective of this study was to assess perceived occupational turnover intention among nursing students and associated factors (fear of COVID-19 and life satisfaction). Students were also asked to provide suggestions that could enhance their intention to join the nursing profession. An online survey was sent to all registered undergraduate nursing students at Fujian Medical University, China. The partial least squares structural equation model (PLS-SEM) was used to investigate key factors influencing turnover intention. A total of 1020 complete responses were received (response rate: 86.2%). Nearly half (49.1%) reported that they would choose not to be on a nursing course if given a choice, 45.4% often think of not going into the nursing profession in the future, and 23.7% would consider entering a healthcare industry that has zero contact with patients. The total turnover intention score range was 3 to 15, and the mean ± standard deviation (SD) was 9.2 (SD ± 2.5). PLS-SEM path analysis revealed that fear of COVID-19 (β = 0.226, p < 0.001) had a positive effect on turnover intention. Satisfaction with life (β = -0.212, p < 0.001) had a negative effect on turnover intention. Analysis of open-ended survey data on students' perspectives on how to encourage nursing students to enter the nursing workforce revealed five central themes: 1) professional role, respect, and recognition; 2) higher wages; 3) reduce workload; 4) enhance occupational health and safety; and 5) career advancement opportunities. Factors influencing turnover intention and suggestions to reduce students' apprehension towards joining the nursing profession found in this study should be seriously taken into consideration in initiatives to address the nurse shortages.