Moving on? Predictors of intent to leave among rural and remote RNs in Canada

J Rural Health. Winter 2011;27(1):103-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2010.00308.x.


Context: Examination of factors related to the retention or voluntary turnover of Registered Nurses (RNs) has mainly focused on urban, acute care settings.

Purpose: This paper explored predictors of intent to leave (ITL) a nursing position in all rural and remote practice settings in Canada. Based on the conceptual framework developed for this project, potential predictors of ITL were related to the individual RN worker, the workplace, the community context, and satisfaction related to both the workplace and the community(s) within which the RN lived and worked.

Methods: A national cross-sectional mail survey of RNs in rural and remote Canada provided the data (n = 3,051) for the logistic regression analysis of predictors of ITL.

Findings: We found that RNs were more likely to plan to leave their nursing position within the next 12 months if they: were male, reported higher perceived stress, did not have dependent children or relatives, had higher education, were employed by their primary agency for a shorter time, had lower community satisfaction, had greater dissatisfaction with job scheduling, had lower satisfaction with their autonomy in the workplace, were required to be on call, performed advanced decisions or practice, and worked in a remote setting.

Conclusions: The statistical evidence for predictors of ITL supported our framework with determinants related to the individual, the workplace, the community, and satisfaction levels. The importance of community makes this framework uniquely relevant to the rural health context. Our findings should guide policy makers and employers in developing retention strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses*
  • Nursing Administration Research
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Rural Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data