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Nurse turnover: the mediating role of burnout


Michael P. Leiter
Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health and Wellness Centre for Organizational Research & Development
Acadia University
Canada B4P 2R6


Aim  This study tested whether the mediation model of burnout could predict nurses’ turnover intentions.

Background  A better understanding of what factors support a commitment to a nursing career could inform both policies and workplace practices. The mediation model of burnout provides a way of linking the quality of a nurse’s worklife to various outcomes, such as turnover.

Method  Data on areas of worklife, burnout, and turnover intentions were collected by surveying 667 Canadian nurses in the Atlantic Provinces.

Results  The findings supported the mediation model of burnout, in which areas of worklife predicted burnout, which in turn predicted turnover intentions. Cynicism was the key burnout dimension for turnover, and the most critical areas of worklife were value conflicts and inadequate rewards.

Conclusions  The results of this study provide some new insights into how the intention of nurses to leave their job is related to particular aspects of their worklife and to burnout.

Implications for nursing management  These results suggest what may be the most appropriate areas to target for interventions to reduce the risk of nurses exiting early from their chosen career.