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NYU College of Nursing Researcher Awarded $4.1mil Grant to Study Nurses' Work Decisions

February 29, 2008
N-304, 2007-08

Eight-Year Grant to Study Career Changes among Newly Licensed Nurses

New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN), has received an eight-year, $4.1 million year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs) in order to track changes in their careers. The new grant extends from 4 to 10 the number of years these nurses will be studied. The grant also adds funding to study two new cohorts of NLRNs and to survey new nurses about the quality of patient-care education.

“Following the same nurses for the first 10 years of their careers will provide an unprecedented opportunity to learn about how they make decisions about their work,” said NYUCN’s Christine Kovner, RN, PhD, FAAN, the study’s principal investigator.

In the face of continuing nursing shortages, which are projected to top 340,000 by 2020, exploring the conditions that influence nurses to remain in, or leave, their positions will be vital to informing health care organizations and policymakers’ efforts to retain qualified RNs and improve the environments in which they work.

“This grant continues our work about the work patterns of new RNs over time that is particularly important both to the nursing profession and to our health care system,” said co-principal investigator Carol S. Brewer, PhD, RN, associate professor in the School of Nursing at the University at Buffalo in New York.

Findings from the current research, “Newly Licensed RNs’ Characteristics, Work Attitudes, and Intentions to Work,” were published in the September 2007 issue of the American Journal of Nursing. The sample included new RNs in the District of Columbia and 34 states. A total of 3,266 nurses completed the first survey. Data were gathered in four areas: respondent characteristics, work-setting characteristics, respondents’ attitudes about work, and job opportunities. Respondents who were not working were asked about their reasons for being unemployed. Findings from the current study can be found at RNWorkproject.org.

“New graduates of nursing programs who become registered nurses are essential to balancing the supply and demand for these professionals,” said Kovner. “Therefore, it is vital that we understand the factors that promote the retention of newly licensed RNs as well as factors that lead to the high turnover rates among them.”

“We deeply appreciate the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s continued unwavering support for the study of the important issues of RN retention and job satisfaction,” said NYUCN Dean Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The findings will in turn help leaders in the field make informed decisions about where in the system we need to make greater investments in educating, hiring, and retaining excellent nurses, which is so critical to the health of our nation.”

Along with Kovner and Brewer, other members of the research team include co-investigators William Greene, PhD, an expert in econometrics of NYU Stern School of Business, and Sean Corcoran, PhD, an economist at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.


The College of Nursing at the College of Dentistry is located on New York University’s historic Greenwich Village campus in New York City. The College of Nursing is one of the leading nursing programs in the United States. The College offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Master of Arts and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Research Theory and Development. For more information, visit www.nyu.edu/nursing.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and healthcare of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
College of Nursing, Research

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Christopher James | (212) 998-6876


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