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Keywords:

  • intention to stay;
  • nurse managers;
  • retention;
  • systematic review;
  • work/life balance

Aims  This systematic review aimed to explore factors known to influence intentions to stay and retention of nurse managers in their current position.

Background  Retaining staff nurses and recruiting nurses to management positions are well documented; however, there is sparse research examining factors that influence retention of nurse managers.

Evaluations  Thirteen studies were identified through a systematic search of the literature. Eligibility criteria included both qualitative and quantitative studies that examined factors related to nurse manager intentions to stay and retention. Quality assessments, data extraction and analysis were completed on all studies included. Twenty-one factors were categorized into three major categories: organizational, role and personal.

Key issues  Job satisfaction, organizational commitment, organizational culture and values, feelings of being valued and lack of time to complete tasks leading to work/life imbalance, were prominent across all categories.

Conclusion  These findings suggest that intentions to stay and retention of nurse managers are multifactoral. However, lack of robust literature highlights the need for further research to develop strategies to retain nurse managers.

Implications for nurse management  Health-care organizations and senior decision-makers should feel a responsibility to support front-line managers in relation to workload and span of control, and in understanding work/life balance issues faced by managers.