The nursing practice environment, staff retention, and quality of care

Res Nurs Health. 1996 Aug;19(4):331-43. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-240X(199608)19:4<331::AID-NUR7>3.0.CO;2-J.


The effects of key factors in the nursing practice environment--management style, group cohesion, job stress, organizational job satisfaction, and professional job satisfaction--on staff nurse retention and process aspects of quality of care were examined. Hinshaw and Atwood's (1985) anticipated turnover model was modified and expanded to include relevant antecedent and outcome variables. The four-stage theoretical model was tested using data from 50 nursing units at four acute care hospitals in the southeast. The model explained 49% of the variance in staff nurse retention and 39% of the variance in process aspects of quality of nursing care. Study findings warrant careful consideration in light of recent practice environment changes: experience on the unit and professional job satisfaction were predictors of staff nurse retention; job stress and clinical service were predictors of quality of care. The variable contributing the most to indirect, and in turn, total model effects, was that of management style. These results substantiate the belief that aspects of the practice environment affect staff nurse retention, and most importantly, the quality of care delivered on hospital nursing units.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Models, Nursing
  • Nursing Administration Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Nursing, Supervisory / organization & administration
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Personnel Turnover*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Quality of Health Care*