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Job preferences of students and new graduates in nursing


  • Denise Doiron
  • Jane Hall
  • Patricia Kenny
  • Deborah J. Street


This article investigates the preferences of student and newly graduated nurses for pecuniary and nonpecuniary aspects of nursing jobs. It is the first study applying methods based on discrete choice experiments to a developed country nursing workforce. It is also the first to focus on the transition through university training and into work. This is particularly important as junior nurses have the lowest retention levels in the profession. We sample 526 individuals from nursing programmes in two Australian universities. Flexible and newly developed models combining heteroscedasticity with unobserved heterogeneity in scale and preference weights are estimated. Overall, salary remains the most important feature in increasing the probability that a job will be selected. 'Supportive management/staff' and 'quality of care' follow as the most important attributes from a list of 11 nonpecuniary characteristics. However, the subset of new graduates rank 'supportive management/staff' above salary increases, emphasizing the importance of a supportive workplace in the transition from university to the workplace. We find substantial preference heterogeneity and some attributes, such as the opportunity for clinical rotations, are found to be attractive to some nurses while seen as negative by others. Nursing retention could be improved by designing different employment packages to appeal to these different tastes.

Suggested Citation

  • Denise Doiron & Jane Hall & Patricia Kenny & Deborah J. Street, 2014. "Job preferences of students and new graduates in nursing," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(9), pages 924-939, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:46:y:2014:i:9:p:924-939
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2013.861584

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Arjan Non & Ingrid Rohde & Andries de Grip & Thomas Dohmen, 2019. "Mission of the company, prosocial attitudes and job preferences: a discrete choice experiment," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2019_100, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    2. Yoo, Hong Il & Doiron, Denise, 2013. "The use of alternative preference elicitation methods in complex discrete choice experiments," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1166-1179.
    3. Stijn Van Puyvelde & Ralf Caers & Cind Du Bois & Marc Jegers, 2015. "Does organizational ownership matter? Objectives of employees in public, nonprofit and for-profit nursing homes," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(24), pages 2500-2513, May.

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