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Practical Nurses’ Health and Safety in Nursing Homes

JHHSA, Vol. 34 No. 3, (2011)

Purpose: Practical nurses (PNs) rated their general and emotional health and their employers’ attention to their health and safety. These components were examined in relationship to work setting and intention to leave for the purpose of exploring workforce issues involving these important care providers of frail elders.
Design/Methods: A relicensure survey mailed to all PNs in one rural state included the Minimum Data Set for nurse workforce supply plus questions from the Health and Retirement Survey. Data were analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric ANOVA, t-test, and chi-square tests.
Results: Of the state’s working PNs, 813 responded, (71%) and 34% (n=269) reported nursing home employment. Overall, age and work role were not significantly associated with self-rated general health (p=0.14 and p=0.12). Males reported poorer general (p=0.09) and emotional (p=0.004) health. PNs working in nursing homes rated their general and emotional health lower than PNs in other settings (p<0.001). Of the PNs in nursing homes, 28% reported they were likely to leave their position within one year, versus 19% in other work settings (p=0.003). PNs with higher evaluations of their employer safety practices were less likely to leave.
Implications: Understanding PNs perceived general/emotional health and perceptions of workplace health/safety efforts can inform interventions to reduce turnover.

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