260505 School Nurse Retention: Associations with Perceptions of Youth Health Needs, School Health Promotion Efforts, and the Role of the School Nurse

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Justin Dickerson, MBA , Department of Health Policy & Management, Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Matthew Lee Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES , Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, The University of Georgia, College of Public Health, Athens, GA
Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH , Social & Behavioral Health, Texas A&M HSC School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Objective –This study examined variables associated with the intention of school nurses to remain in their profession for the remainder of their working careers.

Methods – An online survey was administered to school nurses registered to attend a continuing education event (n = 120). Exploratory factor analysis identified latent constructs among the survey items. Structural equation modeling examined relationships between the latent constructs and observed variables.

Results – Exploratory factor analysis yielded four factors: socially-related youth health needs (α = 0.939), chronic disease youth health needs (α = 0.814), the status of health education in school (α = 0.839), and the role of the school nurse in school counseling (α = 0.750). These factors were included in a structural equation model with observed variables such as: annual income of the school nurse, years of experience of the school nurse, and enrollment size of the school. The model was refined to derive a final model. Years of experience as a school nurse was inversely related (β = -0.25, p = 0.006) to intent to remain a school nurse for a career. The status of health education efforts in the school was positively related (β = 0.19, p = 0.035) with intention to remain a school nurse for a career.

Conclusion – The newest school nurses were most likely to change careers. This may represent a challenge to school nurse staffing efforts. Further, schools perceived as committed to health education may foster a greater sense of commitment to the school nursing profession.

Learning Areas:
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify key workplace issues that are essential to the retention of school nurses. 2. Assess whether their school environment is favorable for the long-term retention of school nurses.

Keywords: School Health, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student at Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Rural Public Health Department of Health Policy & Management who has performed primary research in this area and have previously presented research results at APHA and other public health meetings of significance.I am published in this area in peer reviewed journals.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.