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Exploring factors influencing nursing staff turnover at a selected public hospital in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Background: Turnover of nursing staff is a major challenge within healthcare settings and for healthcare in general, urging the need to improve retention in hospitals. Nurses are the largest group of health professionals and account for a large proportion of total healthcare costs. During periods of economic austerity, nurses are the worse affected. Patients remain indirectly affected, owing to decline in care, as these time periods of economic downturn are marked with the merging of health care facilities, cost reduction leaving institutions with post available for new staff which leads high staff turnover rate. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the factors influencing nursing staff turnover at a selected public hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. Methodology: A quantitative descriptive design was used for the study. Convenience sampling was used to select a sample consisting of 92 nurses, from all categories, working at a selected public hospital in Durban, KwaZulu- Natal. The data obtained was analyzed using SPSS, Version 25. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize and describe the characteristics of the respondents, while correlation analysis and the Chi-square test were used to establish the relationships of the study variables and the respondents’ characteristics. Findings: The study found that inadequate compensation and availability of training programmes for nursing staff increases the number of nurses leaving the institution. In respect to personal factors, respondents perceived that there is not enough flexibility in regard to working hours that respondents would like to work. When the relationship between organisational factors and the reasons nurses leaving the organisation was assessed, the majority 62.0% (n=57) of the participants stated the organisation organisational factor as the reason. Other indicated inadequate remuneration, training programmes, and staff development in the organisation lead to job dissatisfaction. Recommendations: In response to nurses leaving the organisation, the commendation to management should attempt to provide better remuneration for staff such as bonuses or better salaries to retain staff and prevent them going to other organisations for employment. Conclusion: Improving the working environment and job satisfaction becomes increasingly important to retain nurses and reducing staff turnover.


Master of Nursing. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2018.