Job Strain, Professional Practice, Coping, Self-Care, Satisfaction, Intent to Leave, Health Status


The purpose of this research was to evaluate the causal relationships between job strain, the practice environment and the use of coping skills in order to assist in the prediction of nurses who are at risk for voluntary turnover. It was conducted at the level of the individual nurse employee in order to better understand the health consequences associated with job strain, the factors in the professional practice environment which may contribute to the propensity to leave and the influence of coping behaviors in response to workplace stressors. It was undertaken with the intention of identifying intervention strategies which will promote a healthy workforce and the retention of nurses in the workplace. An exploratory cross-sectional survey of 1235 staff nurses employed on the intensive, progressive and general medical-surgical nursing units of seven hospitals associated with a major Central Florida healthcare network tested a client-centered model in an effort to identify nurses vulnerable to the health consequences of job strain using structural equation modeling. Human subject protection was assured. An 82 item questionnaire was used to collect demographic data and measure responses to items associated with the constructs of health status, autonomy, collaboration, decentralization, coping, satisfaction, absenteeism and intent to leave. A variety instruments that were previously demonstrated as valid and reliable were used in the construction of the instrument. Subjects were also given the option of including additional written comments. A total of 325 surveys were returned, of which 308 met inclusion criteria, for a response rate of 25%. Data analysis determined that the measurement of job strain as a function of self-assessed generic health status was predictive of propensity to leave (ã = -.21). The experience of job strain shared a strong association with indicators of mental health status. Job strain was significantly influenced by coping behavior (ã = .56) which targeted activities associated with sustaining and balancing. Anecdotal remarks suggested that the need for balance influenced perceptions regarding stressors in the workplace. The professional practice environment was associated negatively with the propensity to leave (ã = -.58). Those staff nurses who experienced higher levels of autonomy expressed a greater degree of satisfaction and lower intent to leave. The variables of collaboration and decentralization contributed minimally to the construct of professional practice. Anecdotal remarks suggested that the low contribution of collaboration and decentralization contributed to a sense of powerlessness and frustration with work related circumstances. The influence of job strain, coping and the professional practice environment upon staff nurses suggests that health promotion strategies, efforts to enhance coping behavior and promotion of a professional practice environment will increase employee satisfaction and reduce intent to leave. Adoption of policies and procedures which support the health and well-being of individual staff members will benefit employees, strengthen the organizations in which they practice and promote the overall retention of nurses in the face of looming nurse shortages.


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Graduation Date





Wan, Thomas T. H.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Public Affairs








Length of Campus-only Access


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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)