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How to Stop Unhappy Nurses From Leaving

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, January 29, 2013

If most nurses want to advance their educations but are unhappy at work, it makes sense for nurse leaders to do everything in their power to help their current employees achieve their educational goals.

That might mean implementing onsite educational courses and programs; working with nurses on flexible scheduling options so they can better balance work and school; teaching nurses about avenues to certification; and offering tuition reimbursement.

By helping nurses advance their educations, hospitals will likely make nurses feel more valued and supported at work. And if nurses have a choice between working at a hospital that incentivizes educational advancement or one that doesn't, which one do you think they'd choose?

Surveys like these can sometimes feel like simply a snapshot of what nurses are thinking at a given time. It might be hard to glean any real takeaways from pages filled with numbers and percentages.

But nurse leaders who are willing to dig deeper, connect the dots, and make changes will be the ones whose nurses are happy, productive, and who stick around for a while.


Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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2 comments on "How to Stop Unhappy Nurses From Leaving"


Anne McDivitt (2/25/2013 at 2:58 AM)
1. It is true that nurses have these internal motivator within them. 2. Hospitals use this by getting free work from nurses. 3. If nurses really want a degree, they should use those hours that they spend at work doing free unpaid, volunteer work and go to school. 4. Nurses leave the workplace because of management pressure to do volunteer work. 5. The motivated nurse uses the hours wisely by getting a masters degree that will follow them in any institution. 6. The real problem is that nurse executives need to see RNs as professionals and if they give compensation as credits towards a degree, it's a win for the hospital to keep their smart nurses and a win for the nurse to get her degree. Hospitals with schools do that well. 7. Unfortunately nurse leaders that work for profit see nurses as liabilities rather than assets- sad but true.

Alice Peterson, RN, MPH, CHES, CMSRN (2/8/2013 at 1:41 PM)
All true! And I want to add, we must consider that the pyramid gets narrower at the top. In the future, when many more nurses have advanced degrees, will they be happy with the lower salaries and job titles at the bottom? Eventually, what happens when one asks, "There is a lot of competition for one job. When will I get to use these theories and skills I have learned at the executive level?""