AIM: To identify predictors of job strain in residential nursing care staff working with people with dementia. BACKGROUND: It is well known that nursing staff experience high levels of stress, but less is known about how to predict job strain. METHODS: The job strain of nursing care staff (n = 344) within residential dementia care settings was assessed. Standard linear regression analysis was used to explore predictors of job strain. RESULT: Data from the study shows that nursing staff in residential dementia care have a demanding job and experience high levels of strain. The linear regression model with four predictor variables explained 19% of the variability in job strain scores. Perceived caring climate of the unit, staff education level, possibilities to have discussions of difficulties and ethics at work and staff age, had a statistically significant association with job strain. CONCLUSIONS: The caring climate, staff education, reflective practice and staff age can be used as screening variables when predicting job strain. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT: These predictors can assist managers and directors to identify targeted strategies for supervision and support of nursing staff to secure their well-being, and by that securing the quality of care provided to residents.