It is paramount that there is an adequate nursing workforce supply for now and in the future, to achieve equitable and quality health outcomes and consumer access to healthcare, regardless of geographic location. Nursing forms the largest body of employees in the health care system, spanning all segments of care. A shortage of nurses, particularly in the acute care settings in hospitals, jeopardizes the provision of quality health care to consumers. This article provides a literature review of Australian State and Federal Government reports into nurse retention. All reports discuss staff turnover rates; the average age of nurses; enrolment numbers in nursing courses; workloads; nursing workforce shortfalls and the effect on the work environment; leadership and management styles; organizational culture; change management; the mobility of nursing qualifications both localy and internationally and the critical need to value nurses. Then why has the situation of nurse retention not improved? Possible reasons for the continued nurse shortage and the promise of strategic HRM in addressing nurse retention are discussed. Copyright © eContent Management Pty Ltd.