Why Do Nurses Intend to Leave Their Organization? A Large Scale Analysis in Long Term Care

Journal of Advanced Nursing 69(12), 2826–2838

24 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2013 Last revised: 17 Nov 2013

See all articles by Lars Tummers

Lars Tummers

Utrecht University

Sandra Groeneveld

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Marcel Lankhaar


Date Written: 2013


Aim: To analyze the impact of six job characteristics on the intention of nurses to leave their organization, specifically focusing on long term care settings: nursing homes, care homes and home care.

Background: When nurses leave their organization, this can negatively affect organizational performance. Organizations have to recruit new nurses and tacit knowledge is lost. Furthermore, organizational turnover could contribute to the nursing shortage, which will increasingly become a problem given the aging population. This article adds to the literature, given a) its focus on long term care and b) by explicating the differences between nursing and care homes (intramural) on the one hand and home care (extramural) on the other.

Design: Survey

Method: Survey of 9,982 nurses in 156 Dutch organizations in 2010-2011, 6,321 nurses in nursing and care homes and 3,661 nurses working in home care, based on the ActiZ Benchmark in Healthcare.

Results: Firstly, the most important reason for nurses’ intention to leave is insufficient development and career opportunities. Secondly, a negative working atmosphere strongly influenced intention to leave. The impact of the working atmosphere is not often examined in the literature. However, this research shows that it is an important reason. Thirdly, intention to leave is partly context dependent. More specifically, when nurses in home care felt that their autonomy was reduced, this strongly influenced their intention to leave, while this was not the case for nurses working in nursing and care homes.

Conclusion: This article provides guidelines for organizations on how to retain their nurses.

Keywords: Nurses, intention to leave the organization, turnover, leadership, quality of work, autonomy, long term care, nursing homes, care homes, home care

JEL Classification: D73, D78, J2, J28, J58, J68, M12, M00, M12, O2, O32, O3

Suggested Citation

Tummers, Lars and Groeneveld, Sandra and Lankhaar, Marcel, Why Do Nurses Intend to Leave Their Organization? A Large Scale Analysis in Long Term Care (2013). Journal of Advanced Nursing 69(12), 2826–2838, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2291348

Lars Tummers (Contact Author)

Utrecht University ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG

Sandra Groeneveld

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA

Marcel Lankhaar

PwC ( email )


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