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Nurses Turnover and Nurses Retention


Nurse shortage refers to the situation in the healthcare field when there is an insufficient number of nurses. Several factors contribute to the nurse shortage situation, which changes from time to time, making nurse shortage a relative term. The first scenario contributing to the shortage of nurses in healthcare is the high nurse-to-patient ratios. In this situation, the nurses are very few compared to the number of patients they are attending to. Poor working conditions in the facilities are another factor that contributes to the nursing shortage. The shortage of nurses in health facilities impairs the health system, causing loss of lives and suffering. Another issue discussed in this essay is nurse turnover, which is the nurses’ leaving or quitting jobs to other healthcare facilities or different careers altogether. Nurses move to other places for several reasons, and if addressed properly, they can stay at their current workstation, an act known as nurse retention. Facility closure, geographical move, and job dissatisfaction are some of the issues contributing to nursing turnover.

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History and Problem Background

In the mid-1930s, the world was undergoing the great depression, where the number of unemployed nurses was very high as nurses were increasingly graduating from colleges, but there were no jobs. The world wars that occurred around that time were issues that brought about nurse shortages. The issues prevailed globally for around five decades since the wars greatly affected soldiers and civilians (Levine, 2020). In countries like the United States of America, there was a high demand for nurses needed to serve in the armed forces. The number of soldiers in the army was very large, and the demand for nurses increased as the war continued. The shortage of nurses seriously began during this time since the war saw some nurses killed on the battlefield and the elderly ones moved back to the country from the war zone. After the war, nursing leaders and healthcare facilities pushed for nurses to be released from the war to go back to their former jobs (Krivanek et al., 2020). The country was already facing a serious shortage of nurses, but unfortunately, most nurses who had served in the world wars preferred not to return to their former workplaces. Another issue that occurred was the spread of the idea that nursing was hard and had very little financial gains also started around that time. Nurse shortage can be said to have continued up to today, where it’s still an issue that needs to be addressed and given top priority since nurses provide essential and critical services.

Problem Statement

Nursing is one of the noblest and most essential professions that is part of the healthcare system in the world. The scarcity of nurses in the healthcare system has been a major and prevalent issue for a long time. Even though most hospitals in the world have less than the expected number of trained nurses, many nurses leave their workplaces for other places or other professions (Krivanek et al., 2020). As used in the previous paragraphs, the term nurse retention is the attempt by the healthcare systems to prevent nurses from leaving their jobs for other jobs. Nurse shortage can be said to be attributed to nurse turnover.

Nurse retention is one of the ways used to reduce the nurse shortage in the healthcare system. Several measures can be implemented to increase the number of nurses who leave their jobs. The attempt by the government to decrease the patient-to-nurse ratio can help in nurse retention since they will have less workload (Blegen et al., 2017). The growth of older people in society increases the capacity of beds occupied in health facilities by at least 40%, which means nurses will have more people to take care of. The more people there are in the health facilities, which leads to nurse shortage and, at times, nurse turnover due to work overload or poor working conditions.

Purpose of the Study

This study’s main aim is to show the relationship between the causes of nurse turnover, which are personal and professional characteristics, the states of roles, the relations among the group members, and the shortages of nurses. Both the organizational plus environmental discernments, reactions in different attitudes and turnover discernments and aim not to forget the real turnover among nurses in the energy to define the strongest predictors of voluntary turnover. There are benefits of studying nurse turnover, including their prevention through providing the lacking facilities for nurses (McClain et al., 2021). The new employees are also paid less and are not offered any bonuses for the first period. Poor-performing nurses are given extra training and support to improve their skills and care for patients. The existing and older nurses guide newly employed nurses to help them adapt easily to the work condition which increases their retention. In Tenure, the health facilities tend to pay for workshops and conferences to motivate nurses as one of the ways to motivate them to work harder. Knowing the main reasons for nurse turnover help in preventing it from reducing nurse shortage in health facilities.

Review of Relevant Literature

A literature review generally refers to previously written work about the topic of study. Several authors have written about the shortage of nurses and how to retain nurses. A study conducted on the shortage of nurses shows that 17% of nurses leave their first jobs within their first year of working (Levine, 2020). There was a record 26.6% turnover of nurses from 136 health facilities in which the research was done which was majorly attributed to the lack of support to nurses and adequate training (Wolford, 2019). New strategies to better the nurse working environment increased from 58% to 89% of nurses remaining at their workplaces. Levine (2020) conducted a study that showed that the probability of nurse retention was greatly improved by mentorship and support given to nurses. Most of the written material about the topic of the study shows that care given to nurses increases nurse retention, reducing nurse shortage.


In conclusion, the nurse shortage has been a prevailing problem globally for a long time. Nurse retention has been one of the ways of reducing the nurse shortage and should be given priority by the government and the nurses’ leaders. Measures should be put in place to improve the working conditions for nurses, reduce the number of patients that a nurse has to take care of during their working hours and increase nurses’ wages periodically to reduce the rate of nurse turnover. The shortage of nurses can also be reduced by recruiting more nurses into the healthcare system to replace those who are leaving their jobs due to old age and the few who opt to venture into other careers. Nurse shortage and turnover will continue to be a problem not unless serious measures are put in place to deal with nurse issues and grievances.

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Blegen, M. A., Spector, N., Lynn, M. R., Barnsteiner, J., & Ulrich, B. T. (2017). Newly licensed RN retention: Hospital and nurse characteristics. JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration, 47(10), 508-514.

Krivanek, J., Soldatov, R. A., Kastriti, M. E., Chontorotzea, T., Herdina, A. N., Petersen, J.,… & Adameyko, I. (2020). The dental cell type atlas reveals stem and differentiated cell types in mouse and human teeth. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-18.

Levine, S., Bonner, A., Perry, A., Melady, D., & Unroe, K. T. (2020). COVID-19 in older adults: transfers between nursing homes and hospitals.

McClain, A. R., Arnold, A., Palokas, M., & Christian, R. (2021). Retention strategies and barriers for millennial nurses: a scoping review protocol. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 19(4), 867-873.

Wolford, S. N., Cooper, A. N., & McWey, L. M. (2019). Maternal depression, maltreatment history, and child outcomes: The role of harsh parenting. American journal of orthopsychiatry, 89(2), 181.

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