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Investigating the Quitting Decision of Nurses: Panel Data Evidence from the British National Health Service

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  • Paul Frijters
  • Michael Shields
  • Stephen Wheatley Price

Abstract

There is currently a worldwide shortage of registered nurses, driven by large shifts in both the demand for and supply of nurses. Consequently, various policies to increase the recruitment and retention of nurses are under discussion, in particular, the role that wage increases might have in promoting nurse labour supply. In this paper we provide the first detailed empirical investigation into the quitting behaviour of nurses in the British National Health Service (NHS), using a newly constructed longitudinal survey. We fit both single and competing-risks duration models that enable us to establish the characteristics of those nurses who leave the NHS, distinguish the importance of pay in this decision and document the destinations that nurses move to. Contrary to expectations, we find that the hourly wage received by nurses outside of the NHS is around 20% lower than in the NHS, and that hours of work are about the same. However, there is a clear movement away from shift work. Age, seniority, job and employer characteristics are all found to be important predictors of nurses leaving the NHS. However, whilst the effect of wages is found to be statistically significant, the predicted impact of an increase in nurses' pay on retention rates is small. Our main conclusion, therefore, is that the current nurse shortages in the NHS will not be eliminated through substantially increased pay. Rather employers need to identify and address other aspects of the job which are driving nurses' decisions to quit the NHS.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Frijters & Michael Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2004. "Investigating the Quitting Decision of Nurses: Panel Data Evidence from the British National Health Service," CEPR Discussion Papers 471, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:471
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP471.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2004. "To Teach or not to Teach? Panel Data Evidence on the Quitting Decision," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 916, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Shields, Michael A & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 2002. "Racial Harassment, Job Satisfaction and Intentions to Quit: Evidence from the British Nursing Profession," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(274), pages 295-226, May.
    3. Shields, Michael A. & Ward, Melanie, 2001. "Improving nurse retention in the National Health Service in England: the impact of job satisfaction on intentions to quit," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 677-701, September.
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    17. Askildsen, Jan Erik & Baltagi, Badi H. & Holmås, Tor Helge, 2002. "Will Increased Wages Reduce Shortage of Nurses? A Panel Data Analysis of Nurses’ Labour Supply," Working Papers in Economics 21/02, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2004. "To Teach or not to Teach? Panel Data Evidence on the Quitting Decision," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 916, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Carol Propper & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Can Pay Regulation Kill? Panel Data Evidence on the Effect of Labor Markets on Hospital Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 222-273, April.
    3. Claude Montmarquette & Laure Thomas, 2005. "La pénurie de travailleurs qualifiés," CIRANO Project Reports 2005rp-03, CIRANO.
    4. Divine Ikenwilo & Anthony Scott, 2007. "The effects of pay and job satisfaction on the labour supply of hospital consultants," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(12), pages 1303-1318.
    5. Yaa Akosa Antwi & John R. Bowblis, 2016. "The Impact of Nurse Turnover on Quality of Care and Mortality in Nursing Homes: Evidence from the Great Recession," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 16-249, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    6. Daniels, Frieda & Laporte, Audrey & Lemieux-Charles, Louise & Baumann, Andrea & Onate, Kanecy & Deber, Raisa, 2012. "Retaining nurses: The impact of Ontario's “70% Full-Time Commitment”," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 54-65.
    7. Budría, Santiago, 2012. "The shadow value of employer-provided training," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 494-514.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    nurses; panel data; wages; hours; quitting; NHS;

    JEL classification:

    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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