ORIENTATION : The South African nursing profession is in a crisis as professional nurses leave the country in search of lucrative work overseas.
RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate individual determinants of voluntary turnover to identify a risk-group profile.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY : Nursing employers should have a clearer understanding of the dynamics around nurses' turnover behaviour and embark on strategies to retain their talent.
RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHODS : A survey measuring voluntary turnover was conducted among 262 professional and assistant nurses in three selected hospitals in Gauteng province using the McCarthy, Tyrrell and Cronin (2002) instrument. Pearson's chi square with Yates's continuity correction tested the relationship among the variables presented in a contingency table, in other words the risk group and each of the individual determinants.
MAIN FINDINGS : Discontent with salaries was the major determinant of the nurses' resignation. Organisational causes were nursing practices, the work environment, physical-emotional costs and employment opportunities after resignation.
PRACTICAL / MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS : Hospital management could indeed establish a good rapport with nursing staff while facilitating respectful and ethical conduct by doctors towards nursing staff. Putting into place effective labour practices and business strategies could improve job satisfaction in the workplace.
CONTRIBUTION / VALUE-ADD : This study contributed to a greater understanding of the personal and organisational determinants of the turnover of nurses in South African hospitals.