BACKGROUND: Reducing turnover is essential to address health worker shortages in the public sector and improve the quality of services. This study examines factors associated with Ethiopian nurses' intention to leave their jobs.
METHODS: Survey respondents (a sample of 425 nurses at 122 facilities) rated the importance of 20 items in decisions to leave their jobs and reported whether they intended to leave their jobs in the next year. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used to identify predictors of nurses' intentions to leave their jobs.
RESULTS: Half (50.2%) the nurses said they intended to leave their jobs in the next year. A multivariate analysis identified three significant predictors of nurses' intention to leave their jobs: holding a university degree rather than a diploma (adjusted odds ratio (OR)=2.246, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.212, 4.163; p<0.01), having worked fewer years in the public health system (adjusted OR=0.948, 95% CI=0.914, 0.982; p<0.01) and rating the importance of limited opportunities for professional development more highly (adjusted OR=1.398, 95% CI=1.056, 1.850; p<0.02).
CONCLUSION: Interventions to increase the retention of nurses at public health facilities in Ethiopia should target young nurses who are completing their compulsory service obligation and nurses with a university degree. They should include both non-financial and financial incentives.