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Keywords:

  • intention to leave;
  • management;
  • nursing;
  • nursing shortage;
  • organizational behaviour;
  • path analysis;
  • workforce issues

Abstract

Title. Intention to leave the profession: antecedents and role in nurse turnover

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to examine the relationship between intention to change profession and intention to change employer among newly graduated nurses.

Background.  Few studies of the worldwide nursing workforce shortage consider the contribution of changing professions to the shortage. Organizational behaviour research has identified that professional commitment and organizational commitment have an important role in organizational turnover and that professional commitment and intention to change professions may have a greater role in organizational turnover than is presently understood.

Method.  A model of the relationships between affective professional commitment job satisfaction, organizational commitment, intention to change professions and organizational turnover intention was developed through review of the organizational behaviour literature and tested using path analysis. The sample was drawn from all nurses in Queensland, Australia, entering the workforce for the first time in 2005.

Results.  The model was tested with a final sample size of 131 nurses in the initial period of exposure to the workplace. Affective professional commitment and organizational commitment were statistically significantly related to intention to change professions. Job satisfaction, organizational commitment and intention to change professions were statistically significantly related to intention to change employer.

Conclusion.  Turnover research in nursing should include intention to change professions as well as intention to change employer. Policies and practices that enhance the development of affective professional commitment prior to exposure to the workplace and support affective professional commitment, job satisfaction and organizational commitment in the workplace are needed to help reduce nurse turnover.