Impact of job satisfaction components on intent to leave and turnover for hospital-based nurses: a review of the research literature

Int J Nurs Stud. 2007 Feb;44(2):297-314. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2006.02.004. Epub 2006 Apr 24.


Background: The United Kingdom (UK), alongside other industrialised countries, is experiencing a shortage of nurses partly due to low retention rates. Job satisfaction has been highlighted as a contributing factor to intent to leave and turnover, yet this is a complex area with many elements affecting its measurement.

Aim: The aim of this paper is to explore the impact of job satisfaction components on intent to leave and turnover for hospital-based nurses in order to identify the most influential factors.

Methods: To achieve this, a systematic search of the literature was undertaken to identify relevant international research. Three databases (i.e. BNI, CINAHL and PsychInfo) were utilised, resulting in nine articles that met the inclusion criteria. Four recurrent themes were identified in the literature: leadership, educational attainment, pay and stress.

Findings: The key findings suggest that stress and leadership issues continue to exert influence on dissatisfaction and turnover for nurses. Level of education achieved and pay were found to be associated with job satisfaction, although the results for these factors were not consistent.

Conclusion: Investigating possible changes over time in sources of dissatisfaction revealed that factors related to the work environment rather than individual or demographic factors were still of most importance to nurses' turnover intentions. The differences found to occur across work settings necessitates analysis of job satisfaction at ward level, and the contribution of qualitative methods to develop more detailed insight is emphasised. The inconsistent findings over time associated with the effects of educational attainment and pay on intent to leave suggest that it is imperative that sources of job satisfaction are reassessed in the light of ongoing changes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Burnout, Professional / etiology
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Data Collection
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Educational Status
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Leadership
  • Models, Psychological
  • Nursing Administration Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Nursing, Supervisory / organization & administration
  • Organizational Culture
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Personnel Turnover* / statistics & numerical data
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / psychology