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J Nurs Manag. 2011 May;19(4):461-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2011.01209.x. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

Leadership practices and staff nurses' intent to stay: a systematic review.

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Portage College, Cold Lake Professor, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.



The aim of the present study was to describe the findings of a systematic review of the literature that examined the relationship between managers' leadership practices and staff nurses' intent to stay in their current position.


The nursing shortage demands that managers focus on the retention of staff nurses. Understanding the relationship between leadership practices and nurses' intent to stay is fundamental to retaining nurses in the workforce.


Published English language articles on leadership practices and staff nurses' intent to stay were retrieved from computerized databases and a manual search. Data extraction and quality assessments were completed for the final 23 research articles.


Relational leadership practices influence staff nurses' intentions to remain in their current position.


This study supports a positive relationship between transformational leadership, supportive work environments and staff nurses' intentions to remain in their current positions. Incorporating relational leadership theory into management practices will influence nurse retention. Advancing current conceptual models will increase knowledge of intent to stay. Clarifying the distinction between the concepts intent to stay and intent to leave is needed to establish a clear theoretical foundation for further intent to stay research.


Nurse managers and leaders who practice relational leadership and ensure quality workplace environments are more likely to retain their staff. The findings of the present study support the claim that leadership practices influence staff nurse retention and builds on intent to stay knowledge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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