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Progress Report from the RN Work Study

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded RN work study is a 10 year longitudinal study, following nurses who were newly licensed nurses in 2004-2005 about their education, careers, job satisfaction, and quality improvement.

The final survey won’t be administered until 2015, but the RWJF has helpfully published some initial results.

The turnover rate among new nurses is much lower than many originally thought. Only 17% of nurses leave their first job within the first year, and 31% leave by the second year. This is far too high – especially as more nurses retire – but more manageable than some previous accounts.

Among the nurses who leave their first job, only a few – 8 percent – leave the profession of nursing altogether. Due to the expense (both in time and in money) to educate new nurses, we all have a very compelling interest ensuring nurses stay within the profession.

What keeps nurses in the profession? A good work environment.

The authors identify four main work-related factors that keep nurses on the job:

Continued opportunity for growth

Organizational support

Procedural justice and autonomy


This study has many interesting findings and is well worth reading in its entirety.



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