Motivation for entry, occupational commitment and intent to remain: a survey regarding Registered Nurse retention


K.M. Gambino:e-mail:


gambino k.m. (2010) Motivation for entry, occupational commitment and intent to remain: a survey regarding Registered Nurse retention. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(11), 2532–2541.


Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of the relationships between Registered Nurses’ motivation for entering the profession, occupational commitment and intent to remain with an employer until retirement.

Background.  Identifying and supporting nurses who are strongly committed to their profession may be the single most influential intervention in combating the nursing shortage. An understanding of the characteristics these individuals possess could lead to a decline in the high attrition rates plaguing the profession.

Method.  Using a survey design, Registered Nurses enrolled at the school of nursing and/or employed at the associated university medical centre of a large, not-for-profit state university were polled in 2008. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine how the variables of motivation for entry and occupational commitment could indicate intent to remain.

Results.  The strongest indicators of intent to remain were normative commitment and age, with a 70% average rate of correctly estimating retention. Exp(B) values for normative commitment (1·09) and age (1·07) indicated that for each one-point increase on the normative commitment scale or one-point increase in age, the odds of remaining with an employer until retirement increased by 1·1%.

Conclusion.  Transformational changes in healthcare environments and nursing schools must be made to encourage loyalty and obligation, the hallmarks of normative commitment. Retention strategies should accommodate mature nurses as well as promote normative commitment in younger nurses.