Career trajectories of nurses leaving the hospital sector in Ontario, Canada (1993-2004)
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AIM: This paper is a report of an analysis of the career trajectories of nurses 1 year after leaving hospitals. BACKGROUND: Although hospitals are traditionally the largest employers of nurses, technological advances and budgetary constraints have resulted in many countries in relative shrinkage of the hospital sector and a shift of care (and jobs) into home/community settings. It has been often assumed that nurses displaced from hospitals will move to work in the other workplaces, especially the community sector. METHOD: Employment patterns were tracked by examining a longitudinal database of all 201,463 nurses registered with the College of Nurses Ontario (Canada) between 1993 and 2004. Focusing on the employment categories Active (Working in nursing), Eligible-Seeking nursing employment or Dropout from the nursing labour market, year-to-year transition matrixes were generated by sector and sub-sector of employment, nurse type, age group and work status. FINDINGS: For every nurse practising nursing in any non-hospital job or in the community a year after leaving hospitals, an average of 1.3 and four nurses, respectively, dropped out of Ontario's labour market. The proportion of nurses leaving hospitals transitioning to the Dropout category ranged from 63.3% (1994-95) to 38.6% (2001-02). The proportion dropping out of Ontario's market was higher for Registered Practical Nurses (compared to Registered Nurses), increased with age and decreased with degree of casualization in nurses' jobs. CONCLUSION: Downsizing hospitals without attention to the potentially negative impact on the nursing workforce can lead to retention difficulties and adversely affects the overall supply of nurses.
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