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5 Reasons Nurses Want to Leave Your Hospital

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, August 9, 2011

2. Floating nurses to other units

One nurse is not the same as another. Plugging a hole in a geriatric med-surg unit by bringing in a nurse from the pediatric floor results in an experienced, competent nurse suddenly becoming an unskilled newbie. A quick orientation won't solve those problems. Forced floating is usually indicative of larger staffing problems, but even so, its routine use is dissatisfying and compromises patient safety.

Instead, create a dedicated float pool staffed by nurses who volunteer and who can be prepared and cross-trained. Institute float pool guidelines that nurses float to like units. For example, critical care nurses find a step-down unit an easier transition than pediatrics.

Float pool shifts open up options for nurses who need more flexibility and offering a higher rate means you'll never be short of volunteers.

3. Non-nursing tasks

Nurses are already understaffed and overworked. Hospitals with too few assistants rub salt on the wounds. RNs shouldn't have to take time from critical patient care activities to clean a room or collect supplies. Gary Sculli, RN, MSN, ATP, patient safety expert and crew resource management author, offers a vivid analogy. Imagine if half way through a flight you saw the pilot come down the aisle handing out drinks because the plane was short staffed. It just wouldn't happen.

Yes, cleaning a room is important, but don't force nurses' attention away from their patients. Distractions are dangerous and compromise patient safety.

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25 comments on "5 Reasons Nurses Want to Leave Your Hospital"

door1967 (10/25/2013 at 2:42 PM)
17 years nursing and met some fantastic nurses and patients. For me the job just is not what I came into, however I believe that is the case for many. I can accept long hours and late of shift, but not the toxic culture. I feel I am top of my game at time management and still have no time to actually spend time with a patient. I see all these ward statements which are no more than paper. If you cannot sit with a dying patient or just chat then what is nursing really worth. A few nurses, doctors have commented commented I am very good at my job. Their definition of good did not include comfort, caring, having a little fun, sharing your day. I have decided to become a HCA and give up my pin. Maybe I want to be carer and not a nurse as the role has changed from what I loved. It was never a perfect job and there has always been bullies and stress, but somehow being allowed to give something of yourself made it ok. Truth is I don't get anything from nursing and find so toxic which I am sad to say. I think when I heard one nurse call another for chatting to a patient who was upset stating they should be working. I don't blame anyone, as it is what it is. I do believe in my opinion something so fundamental has been lost.

Elaine Kinsey (11/18/2011 at 3:01 PM)
My comment is to those who do not make the grade. All RNs have had minimum scores for exams and those that do not pass are out of the program, period. A 73 score or even a 80% informs me that only 73%- 80% of the time you knew what to do for a patient. This is unacceptable in school and is unacceptable to me as a Director of an ICU. My advice, is to go through the program again and not give up so easily.

Deb Watson (9/5/2011 at 2:15 PM)
When will they ever learn enough is enough! I can remember when volunteers left the hospitals b/c nurses were loosing jobs back in the mid 70's. Then the medical assistants (who are trained both in clinical and administrative) got shifted b/c the nurses were hired at doctors' offices for less pay and higher education. Over the years, medical assistants haven't been recognized for doing all of what nurses do in the doctors' offices nor utilized in the hospitals as part of the on going education of our medical field. In fact, to higher my education and ultimately be of greater service, I attended a 2 yr. nursing school w/i the hospital. With 2 semesters to graduation and $22,000 in debt, I was CUT from the accredited RN Associate program. How could this happen? I was given 2 weeks notice to retake the final from the previous year that I had passed with the manditory 80% and above. Not only was this in addition to each semester's manditory practicals and nursing calculations but put in a noisy hallway to take it. Out of the 80%, I scored 73, was immediately CUT and lost my only income of 16 hours from a student nurse job. Although totally numb from having been put out of being at the hospital 7 days a week for school, clinicals and work, I called and wrote to the deans that only acknowledged missing the cut off by 7 points. I did, however, receive a congradulations for the bill paid in full!! It saddens and angers me to see the continued numbers of opening for nurses when there's such a lack of mentorship to begin with right under their noses.