Depressive symptoms, professional quality of life and turnover intention in Korean nurses

Y. Pang, H. Dan, H. Jung, N. Bae, O. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Aim: The purpose of this study was to identify the effects of depressive symptoms and professional quality of life on turnover intention. Background: The high turnover rate of nurses is a critical healthcare issue globally. Introduction: Nurses often experience depressive symptoms and compassion fatigue due to the efforts of patient care. The impact of such psychological health issues on turnover intention needs to be confirmed. Methods: Participants were 10 163 female nurses who completed an online or mobile survey using the Korea Nurses’ Health Study. To identify the influencing factors on the turnover intention of nurses, descriptive statistics, spearman’s correlation coefficients and multivariable ordinal logistic regression were performed. Results: The turnover intention increased by about 2.81–4.60 times when depressive symptom was moderate or more, 1.14 times when secondary traumatic stress disorder was moderate or more, and 1.54 times when burnout was moderate or more. When compassion satisfaction was moderate or high, the turnover intention decreased by 0.72 and 0.52 times. Discussion: Korean nurses demonstrated high levels of depressive symptoms, secondary traumatic stress and burnout, while demonstrating lower levels of compassion satisfaction. The results of this study demonstrate that depressive symptoms, secondary traumatic stress, burnout and compassion satisfaction affect turnover intention. Conclusions: To reduce nurses’ turnover intention, it is necessary to reduce depressive symptoms and enhance the quality of professional life. Implications for nursing and health policy: Hospital managers need to maintain adequate nurse-to-patient ratios and provide nurses with a supportive work environment. Also, health policymakers need to identify factors affecting hospital nurses’ turnover intention and provide strategies to address them. These conditions may reduce the excessive workload placed on nurses, thereby preventing depression and burnout and improving nurses’ quality of work–life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-394
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Nursing Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
his study was funded (2016‐ER6305‐00) by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) of the Korea National Institute of Health (KNIH). Funding: T

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Council of Nurses


  • Burnout
  • Compassion Satisfaction
  • Depressive Symptoms
  • Korea
  • Nurses
  • Professional Quality of Life
  • Secondary Traumatic Stress
  • Turnover Intention


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