The effects of race and workplace racism on nurses’ intent to leave the job: The mediating roles of job dissatisfaction and emotional distress


      • Non-White nurses intended to leave their job at nearly twice the rate as White nurses.
      • Compared to White nurses, non-White nurses experienced significantly higher levels of job dissatisfaction, emotional distress, and workplace racism experiences.
      • Black nurses experienced the highest numbers of workplace racial microaggression types and the most negative racial climates compared to other racial groups.
      • Job dissatisfaction and emotional distress had the largest, independent direct effects on nurses’ intent to leave their jobs. Race and workplace racism had no significant, independent direct effects on nurses’ intent to leave their jobs.
      • Non-White race, workplace racial microaggressions, and negative racial climates had significant independent effects on intent to leave the job through their effects on job dissatisfaction and emotional distress.



      There is scant evidence of quantifiable effects of workplace racism on nurses’ job-related outcomes.


      The study aimed to examine associations among race, workplace racism, emotional distress, job dissatisfaction, and intent to leave among hospital-based nurses.


      This study used a correlational design with six measures in a statewide sample of 788 hospital-based nurses.


      Non-White nurses intended to leave the job at a higher rate than White nurses. Non-White nurses reported negative racial climates, multiple racial microaggression experiences, and high job dissatisfaction and emotional distress. Non-white race and workplace racism had significant individual effects on intent to leave. Job dissatisfaction and emotional distress significantly mediated indirect effects of non-White race, negative racial climates, and racial microaggressions on nurses’ intent to leave.


      In efforts to retain nurses of color in hospitals, there is an urgent need to mitigate workplace racism in these settings.


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