The purpose of this thematic analysis is to describe recruitment, retention and career
development strategies for expert nurses in abortion care provision.
Thematic analysis influenced by grounded theory methods were used to analyze interviews,
which examined cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes associated with how
nurses make decisions about participation in abortion care provision. The purposive
sample consisted of 16 nurses, who were interviewed between November 2012 and August
2013, who work (or have worked) with women seeking abortions in abortion clinics,
emergency departments, labor and delivery units and post anesthesia care units.
Several themes emerged from the broad categories that contribute to successful nurse
recruitment, retention, and career development in abortion care provision. All areas
were significantly influenced by engagement in leadership activities and professional
society membership. The most notable theme specific to recruitment was exposure to
abortion through education as a student, or through an employer. Retention is most
influenced by flexibility in practice, including: advocating for patients, translating
one's skill set, believing that nursing is shared work, and juggling multiple roles.
Lastly, providing on the job training opportunities for knowledge and skill advancement
best enables career development.
Clear mechanisms exist to develop expert nurses in abortion care provision.
The findings from our study should encourage employers to provide exposure opportunities,
develop activities to recruit and retain nurses, and to support career development
in abortion care provision. Additionally, future workforce development efforts should
include and engage nursing education institutions and employers to design structured
support for this trajectory.