School of Nursing and Midwifery
Aim: To investigate and describe nurses’ and midwives’ physical health, rates of symptoms and disease, and to determine if these factors contribute to intention to leave.
Background: The nursing and midwifery workforce is ageing yet little is known about their physical health or its relationship to intention to leave.
Methods: An online survey of health and work-related assessments was distributed through the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association and professional contacts.
Results: Nurses and midwives (n = 5041) reported good-very good health overall. With 22.2% intending to leave in the next 12 months, older age, better perceived health and job satisfaction, regional residence and not working shifts predicted no intention to leave while breathing problems predicted intention to leave.
Conclusions: Study findings flag the importance of health as an influence on intention to leave. Alongside job satisfaction and shift-working, health presents opportunities for workplace initiatives to maintain nurses in the workforce.
Implications for nursing management: Educators, managers and policy makers should heed the significant influence of health for retention of staff and consider what strategies may mitigate health risks for this workforce.
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