OBJECTIVES: This study was performed to investigate the relationship between job stress and the type of turnover of registered nurses in a university hospital. METHODS: A total of 553 registered nurses who left the hospital between 1994 and 2005 were surveyed, and aninterview record and self-administered questionnaire completed at the time of the turnover were used to assess the relationship. Job stress was categorized into four sub-scales (factor I: insufficient work authority and lack of autonomy, factor II: work overload and time urgency, factor III: interpersonal conflict and communication problems, and factor IV: role strain and ambiguity) using factor analysis. The type of turnover was classified into two categories: voluntary and involuntary. SPSS (version 11.0) was used for the statistical analyses. RESULTS: The direct cause of the turnover was getting a new job, and the nurses in the voluntary turnover group were younger and less experienced than those in the involuntary turnover group. The discriminant analysis findings indicated that the determinant factors affecting the type of turnover were marital status, factor I (insufficient work authority and lack of autonomy), factor II (work overload and time urgency), educational background, and the intention to get a new job. Meanwhile, the voluntary turnover was associated with marital status (single), insufficient work authority and lack of autonomy, high educational background, the intention to get a new job, and low work overload and time urgency. CONCLUSIONS: Job stress played a crucial role in the turnover of the registered nurses, and some job stressors such as insufficient work authority and lack of autonomy, work overload and time urgency were more related to the type of turnover. These results confirm the necessity for a management program or job redesign to eliminate or reduce job stressors which lead to turnover such as insufficient work authority, lack of autonomy, work overload and time urgency. Furthermore, greater opportunities need to be provided for developing their careers. Finally, further research is required to elucidate the specific job stressors affecting the turnover of registered nurses.