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Influence of work-related characteristics and work ability on changing employer or leaving the profession among nursing staff

Authors

  • Anne Rongen MSc,

    PhD Student
    1. Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Suzan J.W. Robroek PhD,

    Post-doctoral researcher, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
    • Correspondence

      Suzan J.W. Robroek

      Department of Public Health

      Erasmus MC

      PO Box 2040

      3000 CA Rotterdam

      The Netherlands

      E-mail: s.robroek@erasmusmc.nl

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  • Beatrice I.J.M. van der Heijden PhD,

    Professor, Head of Department Strategic HRM, Platform manager Responsible Organization Research Programme
    1. Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    2. Open Universiteit in the Netherlands, Heerlen
    3. University of Twente, Enschede
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  • Roel Schouteten PhD,

    Assistant Professor
    1. Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • Hans Martin Hasselhorn MD,

    Professor and Director, Head of Division “Work and Health”
    1. Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Berlin, Germany
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  • Alex Burdorf PhD

    Professor
    1. Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
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Abstract

Aim

To investigate how work-related characteristics and work ability influence nursing staff decisions to change employer or leave the profession.

Background

Previous cross-sectional studies have indicated that decreased work ability and unfavourable work-related characteristics are important determinants for the intention to leave the profession among nursing staff.

Methods

A 1-year longitudinal study, using data from the European Nurses' Early Exit Study. The study population consisted of 9927 (66%) members of the eligible nursing staff of which 345 left their current employer. Work-related characteristics, work ability and employment status were assessed by questionnaires.

Results

Nursing staff with a low work ability were more likely to either change employer or leave the profession. Among nursing staff with a low work ability the risk of changing employer increased significantly with unfavourable work-related characteristics. However, among nursing staff with a good work ability the risk of changing employer barely changed with unfavourable work-related characteristics.

Conclusion

The negative effects of decreased work ability on changing employer and leaving the profession are partly counterbalanced by favourable psychological and physical work-related characteristics.

Implications for nursing management

Managers should implement strategies that focus on promoting the work ability of nursing staff in combination with improving work-related characteristics in order to prevent unnecessary changes of employment.

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