Critical care nursing education at the baccalaureate level: study of employment and job satisfaction.
To examine the employment patterns of nurses who completed an undergraduate course in critical care nursing (CCN); examine the impact of the course on job satisfaction; and compare the job satisfaction of critical care nurses who completed a course at the baccalaureate level and a control group of nurses in critical care who did not have these educational experiences.
Ten hospitals in the midwest in which graduates of a CCN course at the BSN level were in practice.
There were two groups of participants: 42 nurses prepared at the undergraduate level for critical care and 59 critical care nurses from the same units.
Employment patterns and job satisfaction measured by Stamps and Piedmonte's Index of Work Satisfaction instrument.
Most (n = 33, 78.6%) graduates entered critical care as their first position in nursing. At the time of follow-up, these graduates remained in CCN practice. The findings suggested that completion of an undergraduate course enabled students to enter critical care as new graduates. Results of a Mann-Whitney U test indicated no differences in job satisfaction between nurses who remained in critical care and those practicing in non-critical care units. There were no significant differences in total job satisfaction or in any of its component scores between graduates of the course and the control group of critical care nurses. Both groups were least satisfied with pay and most satisfied with their interactions with others on the unit.
Although educational experiences in critical care at the undergraduate level did not influence job satisfaction, other benefits of this education were suggested by the findings. Completion of an undergraduate CCN course enabled graduates to enter critical care as their first practice position.
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