Factors influencing female registered nurses' work behavior

Carol S. Brewer, Christine T. Kovner, Yow Wu Wu, William Greene, Yu Liu, Cordelia W. Reimers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To analyze factors that are related to whether registered nurses (RNs) work (WK) or do not work (NW) in nursing; and if the RN works, whether she works full- (FT) or part-time (PT). Data Sources. Secondary data from National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses 2000 (NSSRN), the InterStudy Competitive Edge Part III Regional Market Analysis (2001), and the Area Resource File (2002). Study Design. Using a cross-sectional design we tested the relationship between WK or NW and FT or PT; and demographic, job-related, and metropolitan statistical area (MSA)-level variables. Data Collection/Extraction Methods. We combined the data sources noted above to produce the analytic sample of 25,471 female RNs. Principal Findings. Working in nursing is not independent of working FT or PT. Age (55 and older), other family income, and prior other work experience in health care are negatively related to working as an RN. The wage is not related to working as an RN, but negatively influences FT work. Age, children, minority status, student status, employment status, other income, and some job settings have a negative impact on working FT. Previous health care work has a positive effect on whether married RNs worked. Married RNs who are more dissatisfied are less likely to work FT. A greater number of market-level factors influence FT/PT than WK/NW behavior. Conclusions. An important contribution of this study is demonstrating that MSA-level variables influence RN work behavior. The market environment seems to have little effect on whether a nurse works, but is influential on how much the nurse works, and has differential effects on married versus single nurses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)860-866
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Services Research
Issue number3 I
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Health care organizations and systems
  • Health workforce: distribution/incomes/training
  • Labor economics
  • Nursing
  • Nursing supply and demand
  • Organization theory
  • Salaries and wages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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