Surgical nurses' intention to leave a workplace in Iceland: a questionnaire study

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To explore surgical nurses’ reported determinants of intention to leave a workplace.


Nurses’ work environment influences nurses’ intent to leave the workplace.


A descriptive, quantitative study design using a structured questionnaire was used to measure the intention of all nurses (n = 383; 49% response rate) working at the surgical division at Landspítali– The National University Hospital of Iceland to leave a practice.


Low general job satisfaction, followed by little praise from nurse managers and having to perform unprofessional work had the greatest influence on nurses’ intention to leave a workplace. In addition, nurses who found their own knowledge respected, but were not pleased with the work were more likely to consider leaving.


A lack of praise by unit managers, engagement in unprofessional work, low job satisfaction coupled with having ones’ knowledge respected and a non-competitive work climate are factors contributing to nurses’ intention to leave. Factors contributing to nurses’ intention to leave may result in a lack of interest in work, low morale and may ultimately lead to unsafe patient care.

Implications for Nursing Management

Managers benefit from building and supporting a work morale that fosters nurses’ intentions to stay in a professional work environment. This includes providing nurses with regular feedback about clinical work.

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