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Kelly Boese

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Haifa Abou Samra


The nursing shortage is a global issue that is expected to last through 2030. The shortage has the ability to threaten the quality of patient care and patient outcomes. Attracting and retaining qualified mental health nurses is a challenge but even more so in the rural areas. The healthcare reform policy will increase health care access to millions of people thus increasing the supply and demand of the nursing workforce. The work practice environment may influence nurses’ intent to leave if nurses perceive the environment to be an unhealthy work environment where incivility is tolerated. The nurse mentoring construct is supported in the literature as an effective tool for nurse retention. It is imperative for organizations to understand why nurses have intent to leave and make changes when applicable. A nurse mentor program offers a solution to nurse retention. A rural upper Midwest psychiatric hospital was assessed for a nurse mentoring program. A purposive sample of 104 mental health nurses were surveyed using the Practice Environment Scale-Nursing Work Index (PES-NWI). The survey included a modified version of the PES-NWI, the Nurse Mentoring Needs-Assessment, to include the mentoring construct and intent to leave within one and two years. The nurses perceived the work practice environment as being favorable with a mean of 4.2 (SD 0.86). Male nurses showed intent to leave with a mean of 3.8 (SD 0.04). Nurse Participation in Hospital Affairs and Collegial Nurse-Physician Relationship subscales showed a negative relationship with intent to leave. Mentoring was perceived as being beneficial to nurse retention. The nurses with longer years of service to the organization perceived mentoring within a civil workplace environment to be higher. The nurses perceived mentoring to be beneficial to involvement in internal governance. The study adds to the sparse body of knowledge concerning nurse retention strategies in the rural psychiatric hospital setting. The results showed the work practice environment to be favorable. The mentoring construct was perceived as being beneficial; however, it showed the current nursing workforce as having no intent to leave within one or two years, with or without a nurse mentor program.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Rural nurses -- Social conditions
Psychiatric nurses -- Social conditions
Nurses -- Social conditions
Work environment
Mentoring in nursing
Employee retention


Includes bibliographical references (pages 60-67)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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