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5 Reasons Nurses Want to Leave Your Hospital



Are your nurses engaged, committed employees? Or are they biding their time until they can go somewhere better? Onerous overtime policies are just one issue that has nurses eyeing the exits.



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.
Art Wallace (8/20/2011 at 7:45 PM)

Nursing morale and/or burnout is also influenced by inadequate career progression opportunities and a sense of belonging and making a difference. As a profession, we've emphasized education and certification as pathways to advancement; but, in reality, it's only the progressive institutions that recognize the value of retaining loyal, talented, and motivated staff that invest in this essential resource. It's incumbent on nursing leadership to articulate the importance of nurses at every level in making hospitals safer for patients and that positive outcomes are a symptom of nursing team and leaders who are appreciated.
Tj (8/12/2011 at 4:56 AM)

I disagree with Jon Kimball No.3 is an excellent example. If you are using valuable resources, doing less valuable jobs (relative to their role/function) then you are wasting money and effort. Glad I didn't fly on the same airlines you used..
brusset du plessis (8/12/2011 at 2:48 AM)

major problems in nursing is burnout, no appreciation and hereby it includes the employers.
Myra Marshall (8/11/2011 at 11:40 PM)

Not only do nurses bulley each other they also bulley student nurses.
Rod Lightheart (8/11/2011 at 9:26 PM)

I have seen a great number of what I call "super nurses" in my career - one's who went far beyond their expected duties out of respect and commitment to their jobs and their profession - the key reason they went into their profession. BUT, when I was visiting my mother, father, partner and most of my freinds prior to their deaths, I witnessed so many nurses cleaning up messes on the floors and cleaning bathrooms. In my years of working in the medical and rehabilitation industry, I shake my head and wonder why exceptionally qualified and dedicated people are being forced to spend valuable time cleaning up something that should be taken care of by the persons hired to do such cleaning. I admire and respect these people - our nurses - but wonder why they are doing what they were not hired to do nor trained to do. What a waste of such valuable skills and exceptionally qualified people. I take my hat off to those nurses who are going above and beyond their call to duty - but also wonder why they need to feel that it is necessary for them to do cleaning. I suspect that they are attempting to give their patients conditions that they themselves would expect and demand if they were patients and clients. I think it is time to reflect on this situation.
John (8/11/2011 at 12:43 PM)

This is so true, we have been in medical recruitment for 10 yrs and how quickly the pendulam started to revert back from any progress made in staffing levels from the early 2000's till 2008 and then focus switched from retention and treating staff well back to treating RN's with Mand. OT, and chronic short staffing. History repeats itself again !!! http://www.linkedin.com/in/jyenney
jon kimball (8/11/2011 at 11:36 AM)

#3 isn't a very good example, I have been on many flights where the two pilots were in fact also the attendants. One takes the controls, the other does the service! These factors also apply most notabley to IT staff who are in the same boat: "an expense to be minimized" instead of a "value to be maximized"
Kerryann Burke (8/11/2011 at 11:06 AM)

I do agree with you Rebecca,when will they tackle these issues and value nursesOne example is the hesitance in hiring new grads ,yet teaching hospitals which are so valuable inteaching and grooming the finest are shuttered. My aunt retired because she feels getting worse instead of better. Overall,this is great article.I will definitely share it my colleagues.
Burl Stamp (8/11/2011 at 9:52 AM)

These five issues are certainly significant ones for nurses, but I'd add a sixth: limited or no input on decisions that affect their work. Including staff in planning and dialogue regarding clinical and operational questions reaps dual benefits. First, decisions are usually better with frontline perspective and input. And staff satisfaction goes up when nurses feel like they have a voice in crafting solutions that involve their work.
Cheryl (8/11/2011 at 9:50 AM)

I would suggest the #3" non nursing task" are brought on by the nursing community itself. They have forgotten about the team concept of nursing years ago. During cut backs, when asked if they would rather kep the nurse teck or RN...they opt for the RN.The tech's original job title was "nursing assitant". When you are staffed with only RNs, who do expect to do the non-nursing tasks? There is no one left to due this stuff!!!!
Sharon Goods, RN,BS (8/11/2011 at 9:47 AM)

I left the floor on which I worked because the manager had "friends" on the floor and what they wanted, they got. Everyone else was ignored.I left the same hospital when I was required to work overtime because of the ridiculous (and unsafe) way we did hand-offs. No one asked us what we thought should be included, no one asked us if we thought it would improve safety. It was used as a fault-finding procedure for the off-going nurse!I went to visit a friend last week on that floor and recognized only 2-3 other people!
Heather Meder RN (8/11/2011 at 9:32 AM)

I have been a licensed RN as of May of 2010. I worked as a hospital unit secretary for 6 years while I went to school. During that time I witnessed first hand the political issues talked about now. I had several co-workers(RN's), following a stressful situation on the unit jokingly ask me, "are you sure you still want to be an RN"? During the time that I was completing my degree, I shared a lot of my insider knowledge with other nursing students that I formed a bond with and still talk to today. The funny thing is that several of them that have landed jobs in hospitals and LTC facilities have called me and said, "Heather, you were so right about what is going on here". My point is that I still want to care for patients and possibly find a way to make things better for our overworked nurses out there. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a position and I am not being selective in my search. In the meantime, I have started taking courses to acquire my BSN and contract myself out to provide EPIC end-user support. I just hope that I am able to secure a patient care position soon because I am no longer considered a new grad and don't have any acute care experience except for clinical rotations during school (which doesn't count).
Glen Jeremiah (8/11/2011 at 9:07 AM)

I agree. Because now days they take up nursing course just to earn money & when working long hours & paid enough they start other ways to earn the money because before joining the course they pay money for their course, thats why money is the 1st. medicen wheather its the Hospital or the staff.
stephen.mcclure (8/10/2011 at 5:30 PM)

The nursing working environment is a challenging one by definition, and even more so when it includes overwork, bad managers, and staffing shortages. Hospitals need to take serious measures to measure staff satisfaction and do whatever is necessary to improve nurse retention. HealthStream's Talent Management solutions are designed to help in such a situation. Learn more here: http://www.healthstream.com/solutions/talent-management.aspx An improved economy could spell disaster for organizations where nurses are already looking to leave at the first opportunity.
stephen.mcclure (8/10/2011 at 5:01 PM)

The nursing working environment is a challenging one by definition, and even more so when it includes overwork, bad managers, and staffing shortages. Hospitals need to take serious measures to measure staff satisfaction and do whatever is necessary to improve nurse retention. HealthStream's Talent Management solutions are designed to help in such a situation. Learn more here: http://www.healthstream.com/solutions/talent-management.aspx An improved economy could spell disaster for organizations where nurses are already looking to leave at the first opportunity.
Bette Zimmernan (8/10/2011 at 4:55 PM)

I just retired after 25 yrs in a state psych hosp. The DON didn't even call me to wish me well or acknowledged that I was leaving.
Roberta Lumsdon (8/10/2011 at 4:04 PM)

This happens to nurses. It doesn't matter where they work. Nursing expects you to do these things and notcomplain. I was an R.N. for 50 years, then retired.
Beth Boynton, RN, MS (8/10/2011 at 2:55 PM)

It is sad to think these 5 issues are so common and right now, as the article suggests, we tolerate more because of the economy. I guess organizations can get away with it. Doesn't make it right and certainly doesn't make it safe for patients or nurses. Beth Boynton, RN, MS Author, "Confident Voices: The Nurses' Guide to Improving Communication & Creating Positive Workplaces http://bit.ly/nmsyLg
Colleen (8/10/2011 at 2:40 PM)

This does not only happen at hospitals. It happens in long term care as well. I have seen a poor director of nursing be fired from one sklled nursing facility, only to be hired a month or two latter at a nursing home across town. It does not seem to matter if they have been good at the director job or not. They have experience, that's it. This is a poor way to hire, and I do not see anything changing in the area I live in.
Rebecca W (8/10/2011 at 11:09 AM)

All of the reasons cited here have been well known for years. Yet, healthcare organizations continue to ignore these issues and continue doing business as usual. When will nurses become valued employees? I would love to see that happen before I retire!!
Judy Vaughan (8/10/2011 at 11:00 AM)

Thanks very much. Maybe if people will read this comments often enough[INVALID]they will finally get it. I have been a nurse for 33 years[INVALID]and finally left the bedside[INVALID]because of these unacceptable problems. I have seen these problems for years[INVALID]and have heard lots of talk[INVALID]and nothing done. The acuity of patients has dramatically increased[INVALID]but no one seems to understand the intensity of demands on nurses[INVALID]and there is no support at all. Nurses are the best investment a facility can make[INVALID]on several levels[INVALID]why not work to retain them and their knowledge/expertise?
Matthew Browning (8/10/2011 at 7:35 AM)

So insightful! Short-staffing is unsafe and we help remove the excuses! We have created a communications technology called YourNurseIsOn.com that helps Hospitals to INSTANTLY contact and confirm their healthcare providers by two-way phone, text and email. Putting the correct providers in the right places, right now is our mission- It helps decrease overtime spend, decrease mandatory overtime, decrease associated worker injuries, decrease staff turnover and, most importantly, increases patient/provider contact hours which results in improved patient outcomes! Here is a 90 second video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjre5P_TMU8 And I can be contacted here- http://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewbrowning Stay safe Nurses!!