The Impact of Personality Traits on Early Job Resignation of Newly Graduated Nurses

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Sachiko Teraoka, RN, MN, PhD
Department of Nursing, Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare, Kurashiki, Japan
Miyuki Takase, RN, BN, MN, MBiostat, PhD
Institute of Biomedical & Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima-shi, Japan


Psychological anxiety has been identified as a factor in early job resignation of newly graduated nurses. Despite support for skill acquisition and workplace adaptation, the lack of which is known source of psychological anxiety, the issue of early job resignation has not been resolved. The influence of personality traits relating to how people react to events is suspected to be a potential factor in job resignation. Based on personality traits, it may be possible to develop advanced measures to prevent job resignation by interfering with the chain of events leading to intention to resign. The present study clarifies a relation of personality traits, nursing skill competence, and psychological anxiety to intention to resign.


A total of 199 newly graduated nurses were surveyed 6 months after obtaining employment. Questionnaires elicited the following: their intention to resign, the self-rated nursing skill competence, state and trait anxiety (i.e., the degree of anxiety experienced at present, and the stability of anxious state, which were assessed by State-Trait Anxiety Inventory [STAI]), and personality profile using Tokyo University Egogram-II [TEG-II]. The TEG-II identifies the following personality traits: Critical Parent (CP), Nurturing Parent (NP), Rational Adult (A), Free Child (FC), and Adapted Child (AC). Subjects were classified as AC-dominant or non-AC-dominant based on the TEG-II results. The relationships between the above variables were assessed by regression analysis. Prior to data collection, ethical approval was obtained from the participating hospital.


A total of 126 newly graduated nurses returned the usable questionnaires (a response rate of 63.1%). The average age of the participants was 22.1±2.1. The participants consisted of 11 males (8.7%) and 115 females (91.3%). The major personality traits of the graduates were as follows: AC-dominant (42.1%), FC-dominant (7.9%), and NP-dominant (7.2%). These traits were further classified into the following AC pattern: AC-dominant (42.3% of the graduate falling in this category) and non-AC-dominant (57.7% of the graduates were identified as fitting in this category). The results of regression analysis investigating the relationship between the self-rated nursing skill competence and state anxiety according to the AC pattern were as follows. Nursing skill competence and state anxiety were negatively correlated in AC-dominant subjects (B=-0.236, p=0.034), while no correlation was observed for non-AC-dominant subjects (B=0.001, p=0.987). Similar results were also obtained for trait anxiety. In the AC-dominant group, the high self-rated nursing skill competence was associated with low trait anxiety (B=0.269, p=0.013). However, non-significant correlation was observed in non-AC-dominant graduates (B=0.014, p=0.859). While the negative correlation observed between nursing skill competence and intention to resign was not statistically significant, a stronger tendency was present in AC-dominant subjects (B=-4.817, p=0.117) compared with non-AC-dominant subjects (B=2.442, p=0.180). The present findings demonstrated that the relationship between nursing skill competence and intention to resign differed slightly based on novice nurses’ personality traits.


An AC-dominant personality trait moderated the relationship between nursing skill competence and psychological anxiety of newly graduated nurses, while a non-AC-dominant personality did not exhibit such an effect. Minor moderation was also observed in the relationship between nursing skill competence and intention to resign in the AC-dominant graduates. An AC-dominant person tends to possess such characteristics as prioritizing others, being reserved, and caring for the evaluation by others. These types of the characteristics allow the graduates to maintain a good relationship with others despite the fact that they experience anxiety due to a lack of competence. Because of the good relationship with others, their intention to resign was considered low. On the other hand, non-AC-dominant graduates might not experience anxiety due to their lack of competence. However, their difficulty establishing a good relationship with others might have led to a greater intention to leave their jobs. Considering that AC-dominant graduate nurses comprised 42.1% of our study population, helping them to establish a good collegial relationship is an effective way to reduce their early exit from nursing.