Research| Volume 45, ISSUE 3, P265-272, May 2019

Download started.


The Relationship Between Personality Characteristics, Tenure, and Intent to Leave Among Emergency Nurses

Published:September 28, 2018DOI:



      Emergency nursing turnover rates are high in the United States. Little is known about the role of personality characteristics in the turnover decisions of emergency nurses. Intent to leave is often measured to determine the likelihood of turnover versus retention of employees. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship among personality characteristics, employment tenure, and intent to leave among emergency nurses.


      Using a descriptive, correlational design, data were collected using the HEXACO-PI-R personality inventory and demographic data. Participants included 406 current and former emergency nurses with employment tenure ranging from < 1 year to > 10 years.


      Analysis indicated a significant relationship between years of tenure and the traits of Honesty/Humility (P = 0.003), Emotionality (P = 0.001), Agreeableness (P = 0.02), and Openness (P = 0.05). When factoring in intent to leave, nurses with tenure longer than 10 years have significantly higher levels of Honesty/Humility (P = 0.001) and a significantly lower level of Emotionality (P = 0.011) than nurses with tenure of less than 2 years and intent to leave within 1 year. Finally, all 406 emergency nurses in this dataset had similarity among the 6 measured personality dimensions.


      This study found similarities in personality characteristics for all 406 study participants, with significant differences related to career tenure for some dimensions. This type of knowledge might provide administrators with details of important characteristics to foster which may have a positive impact on retention.

      Key words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Emergency Nursing
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Nursing Solutions Inc
        2018 National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report.
        Nursing Solutions Inc, East Petersburg, Pennsylvania2018
        • Hooper C.
        • Craig J.
        • Janvrin D.
        • et al.
        Compassion satisfaction, burnout, and compassion fatigue among emergency nurses compared with nurses in other selected inpatient specialties.
        J Emerg Nurs. 2010; 36: 420-427
        • Vahey D.
        • Aiken L.
        • Sloane D.
        • Clarke S.
        • Vargas D.
        Nurse burnout and patient satisfaction.
        Med Care. 2004; 42: 57-66
        • Adriaenssens J.
        • DeGucht V.
        • Maes S.
        Causes and consequences of occupational stress in emergency nurses: a longitudinal study.
        J Nurs Manag. 2015; 23: 346-358
        • Adriaenssens J.
        • DeGucht V.
        • Maes S.
        Determinants and prevalence of burnout in emergency nurses: a systematic review of 25 years of research.
        Int J Nurs Stud. 2015; 52: 649-661
        • Meyer-Bratt M.
        • Broome M.
        • Talcott-Kelber S.
        • Lostocco L.
        Influence of stress and nursing leadership on job satisfaction of pediatric intensive care unit nurses.
        Am J Crit Care. 2000; 9: 307-317
        • Cicolini G.
        • Comparcini D.
        • Simonetti V.
        Workplace empowerment and nurses' job satisfaction: a systematic literature review.
        J Nurs Manag. 2014; 22: 855-871
        • Liou S.
        Nurses' intention to leave: critically analyse the theory of reasoned action and organizational commitment model.
        J Nurs Manag. 2009; 17: 92-99
        • Barrick M.
        • Mount M.
        Yes, personality matters: moving on to more important matters.
        Hum Perf. 2005; 18: 359-372
        • Barrick M.
        • Mount M.
        • Judge T.
        Personality and performance at the beginning of the new millennium: What do we know and where do we go next?.
        Int J Select Assess. 2001; 9: 9-30
        • Barrick M.
        • Zimmerman R.
        Hiring for retention and performance.
        Hum Res Manag. 2009; 48: 183-206
        • Li J.
        • Lee T.W.
        • Mitchell T.R.
        • Hom P.W.
        • Griffeth R.W.
        The effects of proximal withdrawal states on job attitudes, job searching, intent to leave, and employee turnover.
        J Appl Psychol. 2016; 101: 1436-1456
        • Al-Hamdan Z.
        • Manojlovich M.
        • Tanima B.
        Jordanian nursing work environments, intent to stay, and job satisfaction.
        J Nurs Scholarsh. 2017; 49: 103-110
        • Zimmerman R.
        Understanding the impact of personality traits on individuals' turnover decisions: a meta-analytic path model.
        Person Psychol. 2008; 61: 309-348
        • Kennedy B.
        • Curtis K.
        • Waters D.
        The personality of emergency nurses: is it unique?.
        Australas Emerg Nurs J. 2014; 17: 139-145
        • Kennedy B.
        • Curtis K.
        • Waters D.
        Is there a relationship between personality and choice of nursing specialty: an integrative literature review.
        BMC Nurs. 2014; 13: 40
        • Schneider B.
        • Goldstein H.
        • Smith B.
        The ASA framework: An update.
        Person Psychol. 1995; 48: 747-773
        • Lee K.
        • Ashton M.C.
        Psychometric properties of the HEXACO-100.
        Assessment. 2016; : 1-15
        • Tuschy B.
        • Berlit S.
        • Stutzer P.
        • et al.
        Evaluation of psychosocial and biological parameters in women seeking for a caesarean section and women who are aiming for vaginal delivery: a cross-sectional study.
        Arch Gynecol Obstetr. 2018; 297: 897-905
      1. Lee K, Ashton MC. The HEXACO Personality Inventory–Revised: References. 2018;

        • Ashton M.C.
        • Lee K.
        Age trends of HEXACO-PI-R self-reports.
        J Res Personal. 2016; 64: 102-111
        • Ceschi A.
        • Sartori R.
        • Dickert S.
        • Costantini A.
        Grit or honesty-humility? New insights into the moderating role of personality between the health impairment process and counterproductive work behavior.
        Front Psychol. 2016; 7: 1-11
        • Roberts B.W.
        • Luo J.
        • Briley D.A.
        • Chow P.I.
        • Su R.
        • Hill P.L.
        A systematic review of personality trait change through intervention.
        Psychol Bull. 2017; 143: 117-141
        • Lee K.
        • Ashton M.C.
        Further assessment of the HEXACO personlity inventory: two new facet scales and an observer report form.
        Psychol Assess. 2006; 18: 182
        • Zettler I.
        • Hilbig B.E.
        Honesty-humility and a person-situation interaction at work.
        Eur J Personal. 2010; 24: 569-582
        • Winters N.
        Seeking status: The process of becoming and remaining an emergency nurses.
        J Emerg Nurs. 2016; 42: 412-419
        • Chen L.C.
        • Pergn S.J.
        • Chang F.M.
        • Lai H.L.
        Influence of work values and personality traits on intent to stay among nurses at various types of hospitals in Taiwan.
        J Nurs Manag. 2016; 24: 30-38
        • Polyhart R.
        • Weekley J.
        • Baughman K.
        The structure and function of human capital emergence: a multilevel examination of the attraction-selection-attrition model.
        Acad Manag J. 2006; 49: 661-677
        • Lee K.
        • Ashton M.C.
        • Pozzebon J.A.
        • Visser B.A.
        • Bourdage J.S.
        • Ogunfowora B.
        Smilarity and assumed similarity in personality reports of well-acquainted persons.
        J Personal Soc Psychol. 2009; 96: 460-472
        • Johnson M.K.
        • Rowatt W.C.
        • Petrini L.
        A new trait on the market: honesty-humility as a unique predictor of job performance ratings.
        Personal Indiv Diff. 2011; 50: 857-862
        • Hilbig B.E.
        • Zettler I.
        • Leist F.
        • Heydasch T.
        It takes two: honesty-humility and agreeableness differentially predict active versus reactive cooperation.
        Personal Indiv Diff. 2013; 54: 598-603
        • Hilbig B.E.
        • Zettler I.
        • Moshagen M.
        • Heydasch T.
        Tracing the path from personality-via cooperativeness-to conservation.
        Eur J Personal. 2013; 27: 319-327
        • Thielmann I.
        • Bohm R.
        Who does (not) participate in intergroup conflict?.
        Soc Psychol Personal Sci. 2016; 7: 778-787
        • Wiltshire J.
        • Bourdage J.S.
        • Lee K.
        Honesty-humility and perceptions of organizational politics in predicting workplace outcomes.
        JBP. 2014; 29: 235-251


      Nancy Winters is Associate Professor, State University of New York at Delhi, Delhi, NY.