A STUDY OF THE INCENTIVES AND OBSTACLES THAT INFLUENCE INACTIVE REGISTERED NURSES TO EITHER RETURN TO OR REMAIN OUT OF NURSING (DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA)
There were two purposes for this study. The first was to identify the incentives and obstacles which influence the decisions of a sample of currently inactive District of Columbia registered nurses to either return or not to return to an active status in nursing. The second was to determine the distribution of the study sample by selected demographic characteristics and the importance they placed on the incentives and obstacles. The study was a descriptive survey. The Inactive Nurse Questionnaire, an instrument developed by the researcher, was administered through a telephone interview to a random sample of 300 inactive D.C. registered nurses who lived in the Washington metropolitan area. The sample was drawn from the 1982-1984 listing of D.C. registered nurses which contained 1900 inactive nurses. Valid questonnaires were completed through the interview process with 180 nurses. Frequency and percentage statistics were obtained through tabulation and cross-tabulation of the study data. Eight job incentives and eight obstacles were presented in the INQ. "Work schedules" was the overwhelming job incentive selection, chosen by respondents in every sub-category of background characteristic analyzed. "Orientation" was selected by respondents who had been inactive in nursing over ten years, and "child care" was selected by respondents with children under five. "Role stress," "family," and "job stress" were the three most frequently selected obstacles and were usually identified in combination with each other. The "another career" obstacle was a frequent selection of college educated and single respondents. Inactive D.C. nurses are not a primary souce of nursing personnel. Forty-nine percent of the sample were found to be retired, and 29 percent were unwilling to return to nursing regardless of the incentives. Institutions seeking to recruit the remaining 22 percent must be willing to offer attractive policies concerning part-time work, extended orientation programs, scheduling of hours, and possibly even child care. These strategies may also serve to prevent employed nurses from becoming inactive during what appears to be a critical period from the third to the seventh year of employment. Inactive nurses with baccalaureate education were more responsive to job incentives than nurses with other types of educational backgrounds.