Hospital ethical climates and registered nurses' turnover intentions

J Nurs Scholarsh. 2005;37(2):173-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2005.00030.x.


Purpose: To investigate (a) the effects of hospital ethical climates on positional and professional turnover intentions of registered nurses, and (b) the relationships among demographic factors, employment characteristics, and positional and professional turnover intentions of registered nurses.

Design: A cross-sectional study of randomly selected registered nurses (n=463) in Missouri, USA, conducted in 2003 and 2004.

Methods: A self-administered questionnaire containing the Hospital Ethical Climate Survey, the Anticipated Turnover Scale, and the Nursing Retention Index was used to assess registered nurses' perceptions of the hospital ethical climate and their intentions to leave their position or the nursing profession. Descriptive statistics, Pearson product-moment correlations, and hierarchical regression techniques were used to analyze the data.

Findings: The hospital ethical climate explained 25.4% of the variance in positional turnover intentions and 14.7% of the variance in professional turnover intentions. Together, hospital ethical climate, control over practice, the use of educational reimbursement as a retention strategy, gender, and staff sufficiency explained 29.7% of the variance in positional turnover intentions. Hospital ethical climate, patient load, and control over practice together explained 15.8% of the variance in professional turnover intentions.

Conclusions: Of the variables included in this analysis, the hospital ethical climate was most important in explaining nurses' positional and professional turnover intentions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Ethics, Institutional*
  • Female
  • Health Facility Environment* / ethics
  • Health Facility Environment* / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Internal-External Control
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Missouri
  • Models, Psychological
  • Nursing Administration Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / ethics*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Personnel Loyalty
  • Personnel Turnover / statistics & numerical data*
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload / psychology
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / psychology