derycke h., clays e., vlerick p., d’hoore w., hasselhorn h. m. & braeckman l. (2012) Perceived work ability and turnover intentions: a prospective study among Belgian healthcare workers. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(7), 1556–1566.
Aim. To report a study exploring prospective relations between nurses’ perceived work ability and three forms of turnover intentions, respectively, intent to leave the ward, organization and profession.
Background. Turnover of nursing staff is a major challenge for healthcare settings and for healthcare in general, urging the need to improve retention.
Methods. Based on the longitudinal data of the Belgian sample from the European Nurses’ Early Exit study, a total of 1531 healthcare workers who remained in their job, completed in 2003 and 1 year later a self-administered questionnaire including the Work Ability Index to assess work ability. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed adjusting for possible confounding variables.
Results. In a population with low intent to leave at baseline prospective analyses showed that a poor work ability at baseline increased the risk of high intent to leave the ward and high intent to leave the organization, 1 year later. A substantial deterioration in work ability was a risk factor for developing high turnover intentions 1 year later. Social support had no effect on the relation between work ability and all three types of intent to leave but the relation between work ability and intent to leave the ward was borderline significantly moderated by good interpersonal relations.
Conclusions. Poor work ability was a risk factor for developing turnover intentions. Maintaining good work ability and improving poor work ability becomes increasingly important to retain nurses.