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Factors Influencing Nursing Home Social Workers’ Intentions to Quit Employment Kelsey V. Simons, PhD, MSW Thomas B. Jankowski, PhD

ABSTRACT. This national study identified factors that affect quitting intentions among nursing home social workers (NHSWs). The findings indicated that greater job involvement and lack of a negative outlook may enhance NHSWs’ job satisfaction and organizational commitment and contribute to decreased job search and quitting intent. Also, respondents that experienced less stress and routinization in their work and reported greater amounts of autonomy, equity in pay and benefits, promotional opportunities, and coworker and supervisor support, had decreased levels of quitting intent and job search via greater job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The results imply that changes in job design and greater supervisory and coworker support may encourage NHSWs’ retention. doi:10.1300/J147v32n01_02 [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: Website: © 2008 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]

Kelsey V. Simons is affiliated with Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit, 3560 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, CA, M6A 2E1. Thomas B. Jankowski is Associate Director for Research affiliated with Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. Address correspondence to: Kelsey V. Simons at the above address (E-mail: ksimons@klaru-baycrest.on.ca). This research was supported by a grant from the John A. Hartford’s Doctoral Fellows Program, part of the Geriatric Social Work Initiative. Administration in Social Work, Vol. 32(1) 2008 Available online at http://asw.haworthpress.com © 2008 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1300/J147v32n01_02

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ADMINISTRATION IN SOCIAL WORK

KEYWORDS. Turnover, job satisfaction, retention, nursing home social work

INTRODUCTION Nursing homes (NHs) provide 24-hour care to one of society’s most vulnerable populations: Physically frail older adults who typically cannot live independently at home or in less restrictive environments such as assisted living facilities. To best ensure quality services in this setting, a stable workforce of geriatric care providers is required. On the contrary, employee turnover rates, especially among nursing staff and administrators (i.e., directors), are exceedingly high and have been found to negatively impact the quality of care delivered (Castle, 2006; Castle & Engberg, 2005). With this knowledge, much emphasis has been placed on the retention of these staff, perhaps overlooking the roles adjunct disciplines fulfill in improving the quality of life and care for NH residents. Social workers are key non-medical staff in NHs as mandated providers of “medically related social services” (Nursing Home Reform Act [NHRA], 1987). Likewise, as members of the multidisciplinary care team, they carry out complicated roles in the provision of psychosocial services including: (1) Psychosocial assessment and interventions that enhance coping skills; (2) case management services to assist with longterm care transitions; (3) care planning; (4) collaboration with the NH team including consultation regarding psychosocial issues; and (5) assistance with individualized decision-making (Greene, 2005; see also Vourlekis, Zlotnik, Simons, & Toni, 2005). Facilities can be cited for failure to provide medically related social services; however, it is unknown whether insufficient social work staffing, which could be further compromised by turnover, is associated with quality of care and quality of life concerns. Nevertheless, the potential contributions of social workers to the overall delivery of psychosocial care underscore the need for a stable nursing homes social worker (NHSW) workforce that is prepared to serve the increasingly complex psychosocial needs of residents. Towards this goal, this study...
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