Educational Background, Marital Status, Moral Obligation, and the Nurse's Decision to Resign from Her Hospital1


  • 1

    This research was supported by a Louisiana Board of Regents' Research and Development Program Grant #83-LBR-063-B33. We wish to thank the Louisiana Hospital Association, and all the nurses and hospital administrators who gave so freely of their expertise and time. We also wish to thank the faculty of the Southeastern Louisiana School of Nursing for their assistance with the questionnaire development, Patricia Wozniak for her help with data analysis, and Beth Harris for her typing skills. The names of the authors are in alphabetical order since each made a substantial contribution to the manuscript.


Based on the theory of reasoned action, the present research built separate models of turnover for baccalaureate and nonbaccalaureate nurses and for married and unmarried ones. A representative sample of 755 registered nurses completed the research questionnaire. Six months later, information was obtained from their hospitals concerning whether each nurse remained or resigned. Results were supportive of the theory of reasoned action. Furthermore, significant differences emerged in the predictors for the four subgroups. Moral obligation was found to be a significant predictor for intention only for baccalaureate and unmarried nurses. Part-time versus full-time employment status was found to be a significant predictor of turnover only for unmarried nurses. These results indicate that individuals interested in understanding and reducing nurse turnover may wish to be sensitive to differences between various subgroups of nurses.