In response to the nursing shortage, many hospitals offer sign-on bonuses to attract nurses. There are anecdotal reports that the use of such incentives negatively affects staff nurse morale. The present study is the first to empirically examine the reactions of staff nurses who have not received sign-on bonuses. Most of the 800 surveyed nurses were not opposed to the use of incentives, but almost all were concerned about the potential for negative impact on retention. Compared to nurses working in hospitals that did not offer sign-on bonuses, nurses working in hospitals that offer sign-on bonuses reported higher levels of anger and lower levels of optimism. Greater anger and less optimism were associated with a reduced sense of distributive justice. The less fairly treated nurses felt, the greater likelihood of withdrawal from the hospital. The use of recruitment incentives may result in reduced work effort or loss of experienced nurses, exacerbating the nursing shortage.

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Western Journal of Nursing Research
Carleton University

Mantler, J, Armstrong-Stassen, M. (Marjorie), Horsburgh, M.E. (Martha E.), & Cameron, S.J. (Sheila J.). (2006). Reactions of hospital staff nurses to recruitment incentives. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 28(1), 70–84. doi:10.1177/0193945905280497