Recruitment and retention strategies for expert nurses in abortion care provision



      The purpose of this thematic analysis is to describe recruitment, retention and career development strategies for expert nurses in abortion care provision.

      Study design

      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.


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