The relationship between job satisfaction and intention to leave current employment among registered nurses in a teaching hospital

J Clin Nurs. 2013 Nov;22(21-22):3141-52. doi: 10.1111/jocn.12260.


Aims and objectives: To assess Malaysian nurses' perceived job satisfaction and to determine whether any association exists between job satisfaction and intention to leave current employment.

Background: There is currently a shortage of qualified nurses, and healthcare organisations often face challenges in retaining trained nurses. Job satisfaction has been identified as a factor that influences nurse turnover. However, this has not been widely explored in Malaysia.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Methods: Registered nurses in a teaching hospital in Malaysia completed a self-administered questionnaire. Of the 150 questionnaires distributed, 141 were returned (response rate = 94%).

Results: Overall, nurses had a moderate level of job satisfaction, with higher satisfaction for motivational factors. Significant effects were observed between job satisfaction and demographic variables. About 40% of the nurses intended to leave their current employment. Furthermore, age, work experience and nursing education had significant associations with intention to leave. Logistic regression analysis revealed that job satisfaction was a significant and independent predictor of nurses' intention to leave after controlling for demographic variables.

Conclusion: The results suggest that there is a significant association between job satisfaction and nurses' intention to leave their current employment. It adds to the existing literature on the relationship between nurses' job satisfaction and intention to leave.

Relevance to clinical practice: Methods for enhancing nurses' job satisfaction are vital to promote the long-term retention of nurses within organisations. Attention must be paid to the needs of younger nurses, as they represent the majority of the nursing workforce and often have lower satisfaction and greater intention to leave than older nurses do. Strategies to nurture younger nurses, such as providing opportunities for further education, greater management decision-making capabilities and flexible working environment, are essential.

Keywords: Malaysian nurses; intention to leave; job satisfaction; nursing; teaching hospital; turnover.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hospitals, Teaching*
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Malaysia
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Personnel Loyalty*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workforce