Employers’ and employees’ views on responsibilities for career management in nursing: a cross-sectional survey

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To examine nurse employees’ and employers’ views about responsibilities for managing nurses’ careers.

Career management policies are associated with cost savings, in terms of workforce recruitment and retention and an increase in job and career satisfaction. In nursing, responsibility for career management remains relatively unexplored.

A multicenter, cross-sectional questionnaire survey.

Data were collected from 871 nurse employees and employers in the British National Health Service. The study was conducted in 2008, a period when policy reforms aimed at modernizing the healthcare workforce in England. In the current discussions in Europe and the USA about the future of nursing, these data reveal insights not previously reported. Exploratory analyses were undertaken using descriptive and inferential statistics.

The analysis indicated a temporal dimension to career management responsibilities. Short-term responsibilities for securing funding and time for development lay more with employers. Medium-term responsibilities for assessing nurses’ strengths and weakness, determining job-related knowledge and skills and identifying education and training needs appeared to be shared. Long-term responsibilities for developing individual careers and future development plans lay primarily with employees.

New ways of managing nurses’ career development that lead to greater independence for employees and greater flexibility for employers, while retaining a high-calibre and competent workforce, are needed. Ultimately, career management responsibilities should not tilt to either side but rather be shared to benefit both parties. Clarifying employers’ and employees’ responsibilities for career management may help both parties to develop a common understanding of each other's role and to meet their obligations in a constructive dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-89
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • career management
  • survey
  • recruitment and retention


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