• intent to leave;
  • intent to stay;
  • leadership;
  • staff nurses;
  • systematic review

cowden t.,cummings g. & profetto-mcgrath j (2011) Journal of Nursing Management19, 461–477 Leadership practices and staff nurses’ intent to stay: a systematic review

Aim  The aim of the present study was to describe the findings of a systematic review of the literature that examined the relationship between managers’ leadership practices and staff nurses’ intent to stay in their current position.

Background  The nursing shortage demands that managers focus on the retention of staff nurses. Understanding the relationship between leadership practices and nurses’ intent to stay is fundamental to retaining nurses in the workforce.

Methods  Published English language articles on leadership practices and staff nurses’ intent to stay were retrieved from computerized databases and a manual search. Data extraction and quality assessments were completed for the final 23 research articles.

Results  Relational leadership practices influence staff nurses’ intentions to remain in their current position.

Conclusion  This study supports a positive relationship between transformational leadership, supportive work environments and staff nurses’ intentions to remain in their current positions. Incorporating relational leadership theory into management practices will influence nurse retention. Advancing current conceptual models will increase knowledge of intent to stay. Clarifying the distinction between the concepts intent to stay and intent to leave is needed to establish a clear theoretical foundation for further intent to stay research.

Implications for Nurse Managers  Nurse managers and leaders who practice relational leadership and ensure quality workplace environments are more likely to retain their staff. The findings of the present study support the claim that leadership practices influence staff nurse retention and builds on intent to stay knowledge.