Expectations and Experiences

by Henrik Jonsson

Institution: Umeå University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Nurses; Expectations; Job Satisfaction; Turnover Intentions; Transitions; Social Sciences; Economics and Business; Business Administration; Samhällsvetenskap; Ekonomi och näringsliv; Företagsekonomi; International Business Program; Civilekonomprogrammet med internationell inriktning
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2100070
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-123225


The world, including Sweden, is suffering from a shortage of nurses. The nurse shortage is caused by many factors, including an aging population causing a rise in demand, considerably fewer applicants for high school nursing programs, and a large wave of retirement as the baby boomers are leaving the work force. However, research has found that no single thing is more responsible for the nurse shortage than the inability to keep able nurses in the nurse force as they voluntarily terminate their employment. Research has also found that young nurses and newly graduated nurses are more likely to terminate their employment than nurses who have been working for a long time. One of the explanations for this problem is the special problems nurses face during the transition from student to practicing nurses. This thesis aims to help the health care institutions of Sweden, and the world, by further explaining the problems nurses face in the transition from nursing student to practicing nurse. This is done by examining the expectations nurses have on the profession before they start studying, and before they graduate, and examine how the nurses perceive that their expectations have been confirmed or disconfirmed. Further we examine how the nurses perceive that their confirmed or disconfirmed expectations affect their job satisfaction and in extension, their will to terminate their employment and leave the profession. In order to examine the subject, we conducted a qualitative study. Semistructured interviews were held with eight nurses in order to assess how their expectations had affected their current view on their job and what disappointments and positive surprises would infer. The data we gathered from the interviews were analyzed thematically. The main themes we derived from the data were: Emotions – Driver in Early Expectations, Expectations and Experiences in the Transition Period, Confirmation of Early Expectations, Expectations Role in Job Satisfaction, and Expectations as a Factor in Turnover Intentions. We could conclude that there were certain areas where nurses’ positive expectations were confirmed, e.g. meaningfulness of the job. There were also areas where nurses experienced a reality worse than what they expected, such as stress, work environment, responsibility, feedback, and emotional challenges. From subthemes of these general themes we crafted a conceptual model to illustrate how both early and later expectations affect the job satisfaction, opinions on the profession, and turnover intentions of the nurses.