Patient-Nurse Ratio is Related to Nurses' Intention to Leave Their Job through Mediating Factors of Burnout and Job Dissatisfaction

Yi Chuan Chen, Yue Liang Leon Guo, Wei Shan Chin, Nai Yun Cheng, Jiune Jye Ho, Judith Shu Chu Shiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


In healthcare settings, nurses' workload, burnout, and job satisfaction are associated to the patient-nurse ratio. Whether this ratio also affects their intention to leave the nursing profession, along with the underlying stress pathway, remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the effects of the patient-nurse ratio on nurses' intention to leave and considering the mediating roles of burnout and job dissatisfaction. The study analyzed the data of two pooled cross-sectional surveys collected in 2013 and 2014. Measures were obtained by a structure questionnaire, which queried the average daily patient-nurse ratio (ADPNR), nurses' personal burnout, client-related burnout, job dissatisfaction, intention to leave, and other demographics. ADPNRs were standardized according to hospital levels. Multiple regression models examined mediation hypotheses, and a percentile bootstrap confidence interval was applied to determine the significance of indirect effects. A total of 1409 full-time registered nurses in medical and surgical wards of 24 secondary or tertiary hospitals in Taiwan completed self-administered questionnaires. Most of the participants were female (97.2%), and the mean age was 29.9 years. The association between the standardized ADPNR and intention to leave their job was significantly mediated by personal burnout, client-related burnout, and job dissatisfaction. Higher standardized ADPNRs predicted higher levels of personal burnout, client-related burnout, and job dissatisfaction, each of which resulted in higher levels of intention to leave the current job. The results highlight that appropriate patient-nurse ratio standards may be further discussed by selecting personal burnout, client-related burnout, and job dissatisfaction as indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4801
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Nov 29 2019


  • burnout
  • intention to leave
  • job dissatisfaction
  • nurse
  • patient–nurse ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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