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Rural Remote Health. 2015 Apr-Jun;15(2):3191. Epub 2015 May 20.

An examination of retention factors among registered practical nurses in north-eastern Ontario, Canada.

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Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, P3E 2C6.
Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, P3E 2C6.
Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, P3E 2C6.
Nipissing University, 100 College Dr, North Bay, ON P1B 8L7.
Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, P3E 2C6.
Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, P3E 2C6.



Literature from the past two decades has presented an insufficient amount of research conducted on the nursing practice environments of registered practical nurses (RPNs). The objective of this article was to investigate the barriers and facilitators to sustaining the nursing workforce in north-eastern Ontario (NEO), Canada. In particular, retention factors for RPNs were examined.


This cross-sectional research used a self-administered questionnaire. Home addresses of RPNs working in NEO were obtained from the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). Following a modified Dillman approach with two mail-outs, survey packages were sent to a random sample of RPNs (<i>N</i>=1337) within the NEO region. Logistic regression analyses were used to determine intent to stay (ITS) in relation to the following factor categories: demographic, and job and career satisfaction.


Completed questionnaires were received from 506 respondents (37.8% response rate). The likeliness of ITS in the RPNs' current position for the next 5 years among nurses aged 46-56 years were greater than RPNs in the other age groups. Furthermore, the lifestyle of NEO, internal staff development, working in nursing for 14-22.5 years, and working less than 1 hour of overtime per week were factors associated with the intention to stay.


Having an understanding of the work environment may contribute to recruitment and retention strategy development. The results of this study may assist with addressing the nursing shortage in rural and northern areas through improved retention strategies of RPNs.


Epidemiology; Health Service reform; North America; Nursing; Occupational Health; Public Health

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