Work Features that Influence the Retention of Professional Nurses in the Public Health Sector in Windhoek, Namibia
Keywords:remuneration package, work environment, professional nurse, retention, public health sector
The retention of professional nurses in the public health sector is essential for maintaining quality nursing care. Effective retention strategies enhance nurses’ job satisfaction, promote professionalism, decrease organisational costs and improve patients’ care. The Namibian public health sector has, for a long time, experienced challenges in retaining professional nurses and this has affected patient care, students’ clinical practice and the facilities’ status. A qualitative descriptive design was used in this study to explore professional nurses’ perceptions of factors influencing the retention of professional nurses at a health facility in Windhoek, Namibia. Semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 11 professional nurses. Tesch’s eight steps for data analysis generated two themes, namely: 1) Satisfaction with remuneration varied; the work environment was non-conducive and management was inadequate; and 2) Dissatisfaction resulted from negative psychological effects of the work environment and lack of career development opportunities. Remuneration packages in the public healthcare sector were regarded as inadequate compared to the private healthcare sector, which was deemed as greener pastures. The physical work environment is non-conducive and under-resourced, which has an effect on the physiological work environment when staff develop feelings of guilt, frustration, stress, feeling unsafe and uncared for—all potential catalysts for the loss of the professional nurse workforce due to resignations. In addition, career development opportunities were experienced as biased and unfair. Strategies are recommended to improve the remuneration packages and provide a well-resourced and conducive work environment, which supports the professional nurse to ensure quality patient care.
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