• Chinese nurses;
  • empowerment;
  • nursing;
  • structural equation modelling;
  • work environment

A higher turnover rate was identified in Chinese staff nurses and it was highly correlated with lower commitment. Empowering work environments that support professional practice have been positively related to nurse outcomes. This study was to integrate structural empowerment theory with magnet hospital characteristics and provide empirical evidence on the relationships between structural empowerment, professional practice environments and organizational commitment. A cross-sectional design was used to examine the relationships in a sample of 750 full-time nurses employed in five Chinese hospitals in 2011. Structural equation modeling was used to test the proposed hypotheses. The results support the hypothesized model. Professional practice environments partially mediated the relationship between empowerment and organizational commitment. Our findings suggest that higher empowerment facilitates the professional practice environments and commitment of these nurses.