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Career intentions, mental well-being, new graduate nurses and midwives, transition, workforce
Objective: To explore mental well-being and future career intentions of new graduate nurses and midwives (NGs) in their first year of work. Background: Mental well-being is important for people to feel good and function well in their daily life. However, little is known about changes in mental well-being and future workforce intentions of nurses and midwives in their first year of professional practice. Study design and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at a large Local Health District in New South Wales, Australia. Nurses and midwives (N=170) who commenced a transition program in February 2017 were invited to complete a survey using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale after four to six weeks (Group 1) and again at 10-11 months (Group 2). Unpaired t-tests for independent samples were used to compare differences between time-points. Results: Response rates were 47% for Group 1 and 29% for Group 2. The mean (median) mental wellbeing score was 52.1 (52) for Group 1 and 48.7 (50) for Group 2. While the majority of respondents retained a moderate/high sense of well-being, decreases were significant for the items, ‘feel relaxed’ and ‘interested in new things’. Being located in rural areas, being aged between 20-29 years and being female was related to a lower well-being score for Group 2. The main factors contributing to NGs wellbeing were: a supportive environment, resilience, self-efficacy, and sense of achievement. Respondents with higher total well-being scores were significantly more likely to continue working at the current organisations and significantly less likely to seek employment in other organisations. Discussion: This study provides valuable insight into the mental well-being and future career intentions of new graduate nurses and midwives. Most of them retain a moderate to high sense of well-being over their first year of practice which suggests sufficient support is provided, or that they are an inherently resilient population. Building supportive environments that assist resilience, self-efficacy and sense of achievement is critical. Conclusion: With the current COVID pandemic situation, addressing factors impacting on the mental well-being and future career intentions of new graduate nurses and midwives in their first year may be more critical to enhance job satisfaction, leading to improved workforce resilience and capability and therefore the provision of quality healthcare. Implications for research, policy and practice: The findings of the study reinforce the importance of mental well-being to retain new graduate nurses and midwives in the future workforce.
What is already known about the topic?
- Positive mental well-being supports people to feel good and function well.
- Entering into a new workforce as a novice practitioner is stressful and maintaining positive mental well-being in the workplace enhances the capacity to provide safe quality healthcare.
- Little is known about changes in mental well-being and future workforce intentions of new graduate nurses and midwives (NGs) in their first year of professional practice.
What this paper adds?
- Findings show that the majority of NGs retained a moderate/high sense of well-being throughout their first year of their professional life.
- Providing a supportive environment, increasing resilience, self-efficacy and sense of achievement will enhance maintenance of positive mental wellbeing and retention of NGs in the workforce.