Profession and Society
Creating a Healthy Workplace for New-Generation
M´elanie Lavoie-Tremblay, David Wright, Nicole Desforges, C´eline G´elinas, Caroline Marchionni,
To examine dimensions of the psychosocial work environment that influence the
psychological health of new-generation nurses.
While much work has been done concerning the health of nurses in general,
research on the relationship between the nursing work environment and the psychological
well-being of new-generation nurses at the start of their careers is limited.
A correlational descriptive design was used for this quantitative study. Survey data
were collected from new nurses (N
309) whose names were obtained from a provincial
licensing registry in Quebec, Canada.
Among new nurses, 43.4% stated that they have a high level of psychological
distress. These nurses were significantly more likely to perceive an imbalance between
effort expended on the job and rewards received, low decisional latitude, high psychological
demands, high job strain, as well as low social support from colleagues and superiors (p
Understanding the relationship between the work environment and health as
experienced by new-generation nurses is imperative for creating interventions to successfully
recruit and retain these young nurses.
Generation Y nurses in Quebec, faced with high levels of psychological
distress because of their exposure to difficult nursing work environments, might leave the
profession thereby exacerbating an already salient nursing shortage.
[Key words: administration, quantitative, work environment/working conditions]
JOURNAL OF NURSING SCHOLARSHIP, 2008; 40:3, 290–297.
2008 SIGMA THETA TAU INTERNATIONAL.
oor practice environments and working conditions
are recognized as important factors contributing to
global recruitment and retention challenges in nursing
(International Council of Nurses, 2006; Kingma, 2001). A
report of the World Health Organization (2006) indicated
that an effective workforce strategy has to be focused on
three core challenges: improving recruitment, helping the ex-
isting workforce perform more efficiently, and slowing the
rate at which workers leave the healthcare labour market.
To date, many specific actions have been recommended to
improve recruitment, such as increasing admissions to pro-
fessional education programs (Baumann, Yan, Degelder, &
In Canada, the number of admissions to nurse training
programs increased by approximately 43% from 1998/1999
to 2001, and these students are now entering the work-
force (Advisory Committee Health Delivery and Human Re-
sources, 2003). The majority of these new graduates are
members of “Generation Y (Nexters),” born between 1981
and 2000 (Goldman & Schmalz, 2006; Hicks & Hicks,
1999). They are starting their careers in a challenging work
environment and in a profession with a high rate of absen-
teeism and turnover (Shields & Wilkins, 2006). To date,
, RN, PhD,
, Assistant Professor,