How to Stop Unhappy Nurses From Leaving

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, January 29, 2013

The results of a survey of registered nurses present something of a paradox for nurse leaders. The survey of nearly 3,000 RNs showed that nurses are happier than ever with their career choices. Yet about 30% of them aren't happy with their current jobs.

Marcia Faller, PhD, RN, chief nursing officer at AMN Healthcare, which conducted the survey, says it's a finding that should make nurse leaders stop and listen. The fact that many nurses want to find a new job is a clear sign that a lack of a nursing shortage is no excuse for leaders to start slacking off on their recruitment and retention.

"Nurse leaders really need to pay attention," she says. "You really do need to continue on those efforts."

How can nurses be both satisfied with their careers but unhappy with their jobs? Faller has a theory. She believes that nursing's importance has been thrust into the limelight over the past few years, thanks in part to the findings of the IOM's landmark Future of Nursing report, for example.

Yet in many instances, that societal shift hasn't trickled down to nurses' day-to-day working lives. "I'm not sure that the workplace changes have taken place as fast," Faller says. "People don't leave their jobs; they leave their manager and their leaders."

Alexandra Wilson Pecci

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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