Organizational climate and intensive care unit nurses' intention to leave

Patricia W. Stone, Elaine L. Larson, Cathy Mooney-Kane, Janice Smolowitz, Susan X. Lin, Andrew W. Dick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The purposes of this study were to a) estimate the incidence of intensive care units nurses' intention to leave due to working conditions; and b) identify factors predicting this phenomenon. DESIGN: Cross-sectional design. SETTING: Hospitals and critical care units. SUBJECTS: Registered nurses (RNs) employed in adult intensive care units. INTERVENTIONS: Organizational climate, nurse demographics, intention to leave, and reason for intending to leave were collected using a self-report survey. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Nurses were categorized into two groups: a) those intending to leave due to working conditions; and b) others (e.g., those not leaving or retirees). The measure of organizational climate had seven subscales: professional practice, staffing/resource adequacy, nurse management, nursing process, nurse/physician collaboration, nurse competence, and positive scheduling climate. Setting characteristics came from American Hospital Association data and a survey of chief nursing officers. RESULTS: A total of 2,323 RNs from 66 hospitals and 110 critical care units were surveyed across the nation. On average, the RN was 39.5 yrs old (sd = 9.40), had 15.6 yrs (sd = 9.20) experience in health care, and had worked in his or her current position for 8.0 yrs (sd = 7.50). Seventeen percent (n = 391) of the respondents indicated intending to leave their position in the coming year. Of those, 52% (n = 202) reported that the reason was due to working conditions. Organizational climate factors that had an independent effect on intensive care unit nurse intention to leave due to working conditions were professional practice, nurse competence, and tenure (p < .05). CONCLUSIONS: Improving professional practice in the work environment and clinical competence of the nurses as well as supporting new hires may reduce turnover and help ensure a stable and qualified workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1907-1912
Number of pages6
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Nursing
  • Organizational climate
  • Turnover
  • Work environment


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