Factors Associated with Retention of Army, Navy and Air Force Nurses


Name: George Zangaro

Rank: LCDR(Ret)

Organization: The Catholic University of America

Performance Site: Catholic University of America, Washington, DC; National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD; Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD; University of Maryland, Baltimore; Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC

Year Published: 2009

Abstract Status: Final


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to survey Army, Navy and Air Force nurses between the ranks of 01 to 06 to explore factors influencing their decisions to remain on active duty.

Design: A descriptive correlation design using an electronic survey was used to collect the data on nurse retention.  

Methods: A pilot study was conducted to test the instrument and ensure all wording was clearly understood by the participants. Upon completion of the pilot study, an electronic survey was administered to all Army, Navy and Air Force nurses serving on active duty. 

Sample:  The total sample size for analysis purposes was 2,574 (Army = 996; Navy = 590; Air Force = 988). The overall response rate was 30%, which is acceptable for a study this size. The response rates for each service were as follows:  Army – 35%; Navy – 22%; and Air Force – 33%.

Analysis: Statistical analysis was completed using descriptives and structural equation modeling.

Findings: The most significant predictor of job satisfaction and intent to stay on active duty across all 3 services was promotional opportunity (positive relationship, the more promotional opportunities available the more satisfied and likely to stay). Relocation of families was also a significant predictor across all 3 services, the fewer times a family was relocated the more likely they are to stay in the military. Nurses were asking to be able to remain in one geographical area for longer periods of time provided this would not impact their promotional opportunity.  Overall, deployments were not a significant factor in determining job satisfaction or intent to stay.  Most service members were happy to deploy and saw this as part of their mission and patriotic duty. Additionally, single military members felt that they were expected to be more flexible with relocations and deployments.

Implications for Military Nursing: Retention efforts need to be focused on ameliorating factors that are causing nurses to leave the military and identifying the specific needs for each of the services and among the junior and senior officers.


Final Report is available on NTRL at; https://ntrl.ntis.gov/NTRL/dashboard/searchResults/titleDetail/PB2012107...