Download the full-sized PDF of Understanding clinical nurses' intent to stay and the influence of leadership practices on intent to stayDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Understanding clinical nurses' intent to stay and the influence of leadership practices on intent to stay Open Access


Other title
intent to stay, desire to stay, relational leadership, structural equation models, theory
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Cowden, Tracy Lea
Supervisor and department
Cummings, Greta G. (Faculty of Nursing)
Examining committee member and department
Joanne Profetto-McGrath (Faculty of Nursing)
Kaysi Eastlick Kushner (Faculty of Nursing)
Carole Estabrooks (Faculty of Nursing)
Leslie Hayduk (Department of Sociology)
Joanne Olson (Faculty of Nursing)
Gail Tomblin Murphy (School of Nursing, Dalhousie University)
Greta Cummings (Faculty of Nursing)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Background: High nursing turnover and early nursing career exit rates evidenced by the current global nursing shortage is the impetus for effective strategies aimed at retaining nurses in their current positions. Nurses’ behavioral intentions to leave or stay are not well understood. Aim: This thesis aims to increase understanding of why clinical nurses choose to remain in their current positions and to assess the influence that nursing leaders have on staff nurses’ intent to stay. Methods: Two systematic literature reviews were conducted; one to synthesize current research on clinical nurses’ intentions to stay and the influence of leadership practices on those intentions; the other to determine the appropriateness of conceptualizing intentions to stay and leave as opposite ends of a continuum. Building on two published conceptual models (Boyle et al. 1999; Tourangeau & Cranley (2006), a new theoretical model of nurses’ intent to stay was developed and tested as a structural equation model using LISREL 8.8 and a subset of the QWEST study data provided by 415 nurses working in nine hospitals in one Canadian province. Results: The systematic reviews identified positive relationships between relational leadership practices and nurses’ intentions to stay, supporting the assertion that managers influence the behavioral intentions of nurses and their intentions to stay and leave. Intentions to stay and leave were found to be separate but correlated concepts. Model testing results, χ2=169.9, df=148 and p=0.105, indicated a fitting model that explained 63% of the variance in intentions to stay. Concepts with the strongest direct effects on intent to stay were empowerment, organizational commitment, and desire to stay. Leadership had strong total effects and indirectly influenced intent to stay through empowerment. Conclusions: Findings suggested that intent to stay or leave should be investigated as separate but correlated concepts. Relational leadership that focuses on individual nurses and supports empowering work environments will likely affect nurses choosing to remain in their current positions.
License granted by Tracy Cowden ( on 2011-04-14T21:09:30Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 2174705
Last modified: 2015:10:12 20:56:26-06:00
Filename: Cowden_Tracy_Spring 2011.pdf
Original checksum: 1c4d6bfe013f49f4bc3aa846922ff3dd
Well formed: true
Valid: true
Status message: Too many fonts to report; some fonts omitted. Total fonts = 1070
File author: 4wing
Page count: 204
File language: en-US
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date