Summary This paper provides a review and concept analysis of turnover intention. The aim was to promote Nurse Managers’ understanding of the meanings and mechanisms of turnover intention, which could help them counteract nurse turnover. Sixty-six papers published between January 1998 and August 2007 were collected from CINAHL, PubMed, and PsycINFO databases, and were subjected to Rogers’ concept analysis. The results showed that turnover intention is a multi-stage process involving the voluntary departure of employees from their current position, and is triggered by negative psychological responses to internal/external job context. These psychological responses evolve into withdrawal cognition and behaviours, and lead to actual turnover. To prevent nurse turnover, Nurse Managers should closely observe the internal and external causes of turnover, and the stage of nurses’ turnover intention.