Nurses' intention to leave the organization: a mediation study of professional burnout and engagement

Alexandra Marques-Pinto*, Élvio Henriques Jesus, Aida Maria Oliveira Cruz Mendes, Inês Fronteira, Magda Sofia Roberto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The nature of the turnover process calls for the study of more complex relationships among variables beyond simple bivariate or multiple associations between predictors and turnover intentions. The present article aims to examine the predictive value of job demands and resources in the explanation of nurses’ intention to leave the organization and to test the mediating roles of professional burnout and engagement in these relationships, within a Portuguese nursing population. The research models were tested within the scope of the Registered Nurse Forecasting project. Data included the self-report questionnaires of 2,235 Portuguese nurses from 31 hospitals, collected through stratified random sampling procedures. The statistical analyses of the structural models showed that nurses’ participation in hospital affairs, a job resource at the work organization level, was the only significant predictor of nurses´ intention to leave the organization (β = –.45, p < .001). Analyses of the mediation models revealed that the emotional exhaustion symptoms of burnout (β = –.11, p < .001) and job engagement feelings (β = –.15, p < .001) were both significant mediators between nurses’ decisional involvement and their intentions to leave the organization. Results suggest that including nurses in decision-making processes regarding their professional practice policy and environment, and improving nurses’ professional well-being are two crucial strategies to reduce nurses’ turnover intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere32
JournalSpanish Journal of Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Burnout
  • Nurses
  • Turnover intention
  • Work engagement


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