IZA DP No. 118: Improving Nurse Retention in the British National Health Service: The Impact of Job Satisfaction on Intentions to Quit
published in: Journal of Health Economics, 2001, 20(5), 677-801
In recent years the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain has experienced an acute shortage of qualified nurses. This has placed issues of recruitment and retention in the profession high on the political agenda. In this paper we investigate the determinants of job satisfaction for nurses, and establish the importance of job satisfaction in determining nurses’ intentions to quit the NHS. We find that nurses who report overall dissatisfaction with their jobs have a 65% higher probability of intending to quit than those reporting to be satisfied. However, dissatisfaction with promotion and training opportunities are found to have a stronger impact than workload or pay. Recent policies, which focus heavily on improving the pay of all NHS nurses will only have limited success unless they are accompanied by, improved promotion and training opportunities. Better retention will, in turn, lead to reduced workload.