Intention to leave among nurses during the COVID-19 outbreak: A rapid systematic review and Meta-Analysis

J Clin Nurs. 2022 Nov 27. doi: 10.1111/jocn.16588. Online ahead of print.


Aims and objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in the workload of nurses and changes in working conditions. Stress and the increase in workload during the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect on nurses' intention to leave. This study aimed to determine the current rate of intention to leave the job among nurses during the COVID-19 outbreak by conducting a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methodology/methods: The review procedure was conducted by the PRISMA criteria. The researchers searched PubMed and Web of Science databases for studies providing the rate of nurses' intent to leave, published until 31 December 2021. Heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 test, and publication bias was measured by Egger's test.

Results: The estimated overall intent to leave the profession among nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic was 31.7% (95% CI: 25%-39%) with significant heterogeneity (Q test: 188.9; p = 0.0001; I2 : %95.2; Tau2 : 0.225). Additionally, Egger's regression test suggested no publication bias for estimating the pooled rate of nurses' intent to leave during the COVID-19 outbreak.

No patient or public contribution: Since the research is a meta-analysis study, a literature review model was used. Ethics committee approval was not obtained because the literature review did not directly affect humans and animals.

Conclusion: This study showed that approximately one-third of nurses working during the COVID-19 pandemic had thoughts about intending to leave their job. The findings indicate the need for strategies involving precautions and solutions to minimise the psychological impacts of COVID-19 among nurses.

Relevance to clinical practice: In this period when the global nurse crisis exists, it is of great importance for institutions to retain their nurse workforce. There is an urgent need to prepare nurses to cope better with COVID-19 pandemic. Identification of risk factors for intention to leave could be a significant weapon giving nurses and healthcare systems the ability to response in a better way against the following COVID-19 waves in the near future.

Keywords: coronavirus; nursing; pandemic; quit the job; the pooled rate; turnover intention.