Health, workforce characteristics, quality of life and intention to leave: The 'Fit for the Future' survey of Australian nurses and midwives

Document Type

Journal Article




School of Nursing and Midwifery




Perry, L., Xu, X., Duffield, C., Gallagher, R., Nicholls, R., & Sibbritt, D. (2017). Health, workforce characteristics, quality of life and intention to leave: The ‘fit for the future’survey of Australian nurses and midwives. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 73(11), 2745-2756. Available here


Aim: To examine the quality of life of nurses and midwives in New South Wales, Australia and compare values with those of the Australian general population; to determine the influence of workforce, health and work life characteristics on quality of life and its effect on workforce intention to leave.

Background: Few studies have examined nurses’ and midwives’ quality of life and little is known of its effects on workforce longevity.

Design: This was a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2014–2015.

Method: The “Fit for the Future” electronic survey, delivered to nurses and midwives, examined demographic, work and health-related factors, which were compared with Australian general population normative values for physical and mental components of quality of life (the Short Form-12). Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models assessed associations with workforce intention to leave.

Result: Physical and mental component scores, calculated for 4,592 nurses and midwives, revealed significantly higher physical but lower mental component scores than the general population. Physical component scores decreased with increasing age; higher scores were seen in nurses with better health indices and behaviours. Mental well-being scores increased with increasing age; in nurses who reported job satisfaction, no work injury, sleep problems or frequent pain and non-smokers. The odds of intention to leave decreased with increasing mental well-being.

Conclusion: Managers and decision-makers should heed study recommendations to implement health promotion strategies for nurses and midwives, aiming to improve mental health, specifically to promote workforce retention.



Access Rights

subscription content


Article Location