June 1, 2023

Effect of union membership on nursing turnover, job satisfaction

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study, led by Lewis College of Business, Marshall University, South Charleston, West Virginia, examines the relationship between nursing unions and nurse turnover and job satisfaction.

A total of 43,960 nurses from the 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses were included in the analysis. About 16% were represented by labor unions.

Among the findings:

  • The overall turnover rate was 12.8%, with union nurses less likely to report turnover than nonunion nurses (mean 10.9% vs 13.16%)
  • Union nurses reported less job satisfaction than nonunion nurses (mean 3.20 vs 3.28)
  • Union nurses were more likely than nonunion nurses to be male (12.72% vs 9.46%), minorities (37.65% vs 25.67%), and employed in hospital settings (70.1% vs 57.9%).
  • Union nurses reported fewer hours of work per week than nonunion nurses (mean 36.73 vs 37.66).
  • Adjusted analysis showed a positive association between union status and turnover, but an inverse association with job satisfaction.

The researchers concluded that unionized nurses were less likely to report turnover but were more likely to have job dissatisfaction.


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