AIMS: This article examines the relationships among emotional labour, team climate, burnout, perceived quality of care and turnover intention among nurses in Australia, with the aim of addressing nurse retention and burnout. BACKGROUND: Emotional labour refers to the regulation of emotion during interpersonal transactions. It may involve faking unfelt emotions, hiding genuine emotions and deep acting whereby the individuals attempt to influence their inner feelings to induce the appropriate outward countenance. Currently, there is a dearth of literature that investigates the link between emotional labour and perceived quality of care and ultimately turnover intention. The contribution of team climate in the relationship between emotional labour and burnout is still uncertain. DESIGN: A cross-sectional quantitative study conducted with self-completed questionnaires. METHODS: The study was conducted in 2011 with 201 registered nurses. Validated measures were used to measure the aforementioned constructs. Confirmatory factor analyses were used to examine the factor structure of the measured variables and hypotheses were tested using structural equation modelling. RESULTS: The final model demonstrates that faking has a significant negative influence on perceived quality of care. Hiding predicts burnout, leading to an increase in turnover intention. Team climate moderates the relationship between hiding and burnout, which may subsequently influence turnover intention. CONCLUSION: The establishment of a strong team climate may help nurses to manage the emotional demands of their role, promote their well-being and retention.