The effects of nursing turnover on continuity of care in isolated First Nation communities

Can J Nurs Res. 2005 Mar;37(1):86-100.


Many of Canada's northern First Nation communities experience difficulty recruiting and retaining appropriate nursing staff and must rely on relief nurses for short-term coverage. The latter often are not adequately prepared for the demanding nature of the practice. This study examined the consequences of nursing turnover on the continuity of care provided to residents of three Ojibway communities in northern Ontario. The findings are based on a review of 135 charts of oncology, diabetes, and mental health clients, and on interviews with 30 professional and paraprofessional health-care providers who served the communities. Nursing turnover is shown to detrimentally affect communications, medications management, and the range of services offered; it also results in compromised follow-up, client disengagement, illness exacerbation, and an added burden of care for family and community members.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Communication
  • Community Health Nursing*
  • Continuity of Patient Care / standards*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / nursing
  • Health Services, Indigenous
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Mental Disorders / nursing
  • Neoplasms / nursing
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Administration Research
  • Nursing Audit
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff* / psychology
  • Nursing Staff* / supply & distribution
  • Ontario
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / organization & administration
  • Personnel Turnover* / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Health Care / standards
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce