Why do nurses at a university hospital want to quit their jobs?

Ann Gardulf, Inga-Lena Söderström, Marie-Louise Orton, Lars E Eriksson, Bengt Arnetz, Gun Nordström
Journal of Nursing Management 2005, 13 (4): 329-37
The aim of the study was to investigate to what extent the registered nurses at a university hospital intend to quit their present jobs and the reasons for this. A total of 833 nurses at a university hospital responded to two mailed, work-environment questionnaires (Quality Work Competence and Huddinge University Hospital Model Questionnaire). About 54% (n = 449) intended to quit and 35% (n = 155) had already taken steps to do so. Main reasons were dissatisfaction with the salary (65%), psychologically strenuous and stressful work (32%), a wish to 'try something new' (28%) and limited opportunities to make a professional career (19%). Nurses who intended to quit ('quitters') rated a higher work tempo (P < 0.001), experienced an increased work-related exhaustion (P < 0.001) and a lower quality of patient care (P < 0.01). They also perceived to a lower degree that their competence was made good use of (P < 0.001) and that they had fewer opportunities of developing their own competence (P < 0.001) and making a professional career. They were less satisfied with the support from their superiors for participating in nursing research and developing projects (P < 0.001). Finally, the 'quitters' knew to a significantly lesser extent (P < 0.001) why they had the actual salary they had, what the salary was based on and what to do to improve it. However, it was found that the hospital still had a 'core group' of highly motivated and dedicated nurses with an unusually high amount of mental energy left. All findings regarding the 'quitters' are factors amenable to interventions.

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