What makes experienced nurses stay in their positions? A qualitative interview study

Belle Mia Loft*, Claus Sixtus Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Aim: To explore which factors are important in experienced nurses’ intention to stay in the clinical setting and to learn which factors affect their job satisfaction. Background: Nursing turnover is a challenge for health care quality outcomes, and retaining nursing expertise at the bedside is of great importance. Thus, we must understand why nurses choose to stay employed in their clinical settings. Method(s): Twenty-eight nurses participated in a qualitative interview study. The data were analysed using inductive content analysis. Results: The analysis revealed seven themes: being an experienced nurse, the importance of the speciality, management, professional challenges, good colleagues, balancing family and work–life and change in organisations. Conclusion(s): Many factors affect experienced nurses’ job satisfaction and their intention to stay in their jobs and the profession. The factors were not particularly linked to the nurses’ specialties. Nursing managers play a vital role in influencing these factors. Implications for nursing management: This study contributes important knowledge useful for development of policies and strategies for nursing retention, hence contributing to the enhancement of nursing practice. Nursing managers need to consider their roles in retaining experienced nurses as this study underscores the importance of job satisfaction in the nurses’ intention to stay.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Pages (from-to)1305-1316
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • experienced nurses
  • intention to stay
  • job satisfaction
  • retention
  • turnover


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