Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Lachel Story

Committee Chair School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 2

Dr. LaWanda Baskin

Committee Member 2 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 3

Dr. Nina McLain

Committee Member 3 School

Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice

Committee Member 4

Dr. Alex Schrimpshire

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Dr. Yang Ge

Committee Member 5 School

Health Professions


March 2020 changed the healthcare field entirely. When the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the United States in early 2020, it was recommended that surgical departments nationwide shutdown altogether or at least decrease their workloads to exclusively emergent procedures. This step was taken both to save surgical equipment for more critical patients and to offload those staff members from surgical departments to more critical areas in the hospital systems.

This exploratory study was completed to investigate the impact of COVID-19 surgical department shutdowns on current surgical staffing. This research explored different factors such as health insurance availability, childcare availability, shift change, and intrinsic motivation to determine the effect these factors had on surgical registered nurses’ (RN’s) decisions regarding job displacement status immediately post-COVID-19 surgical department shutdowns.

The theoretical framework influencing this research was the self-determination theory, and thus, the research utilized the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory to determine participants’ feelings toward their experiences and decisions regarding job displacement. This study incorporated a sample of surgical nurses (N=190) recruited via snowball sampling and was conducted using Qualtrics®. This survey utilized a combination of a Likert-scale survey created by the researcher, the Surgical Nursing Job Displacement Survey, the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory, and a demographic questionnaire. Chi-square analyses were completed to determine the relationship between the outcome variable (return to a surgical department) and the predictor variables (health insurance availability, childcare availability, intrinsic motivation, and shift change). Analyses showed no significant relationship between any variables studied. These results support the need for further future research regarding surgical nursing staffing shortages.

Included in

Nursing Commons