Investigation of nurses’ intention to leave: a study of a sample of UK nurses

Andrew Robson, Fiona Robson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an evaluation of the key antecedents of leave
intention demonstrated by nurses employed in UK National Health Service (NHS).
Design/methodology/approach – Survey assessment of a sample of 433 nurses employed within
the NHS was undertaken, potential relationships relating to both affective commitment and leave
intention and work-place experiences assessed through leader-member exchange (LMX) and perceived
organisational support (POS) have been evaluated quantitatively, using confirmatory factor analysis
(CFA) and structural equations modelling (SEM).
Findings – The study indicates that both LMX and POS act as direct antecedents to nurses’ leave
intention. Additionally, both LMX and POS in combination, significantly effect employees’ affective
commitment, the latter further impacting on employee leave intention. This would suggest that both
LMX and POS have a significant role to play in employee leave intention that is partially mediated by
affective commitment, further analysis confirming this to be the case.
Research limitations/implications – The sample of nurses is large in absolute terms, permitting
the CFA/SEM analysis undertaken, although the data represented only two NHS trusts, hence
generalisation across the NHS should be done so cautiously. Various other drivers of leave intention,
personal and organisational, have not been assessed here.
Practical implications – The implications of these results are that to safeguard nurse retention,
appropriate line manager engagement is crucial, but this requires organisational support that is
recognised by the employees, especially to enhance their levels of affective commitment.
Originality/value – This is given by providing NHS-based assessment of the role of both POS and
LMX in the realisation of both affective commitment and desire to remain with their current
organisations amongst members of the UK nursing profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-173
JournalJournal of Health, Organisation and Management
Issue number1
Early online date11 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2016


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