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5 Reasons Nurses Want to Leave Your Hospital

News  |  By  
   September 12, 2016

Your nurses have one eye on the door if you do any of the following.

This article was originally published on August 9, 2011.

Are your nurses engaged, committed employees? Or are they biding their time until they can go somewhere better?  Job opportunities for RNs and APRNs abound, and even nurses who appear content may be planning their exit strategies.

To predict whether you face an exodus, take a look at the following five reasons why your nurses want out.

1. Mandatory overtime

Nurses work 12-hour shifts that always end up longer than 12 hours due to paperwork and proper handoffs. At the end, they are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Forcing them to stay longer is as bad for morale as it is for patient safety.

Some overtime is acceptable. People get sick, take vacations, or have unexpected car trouble and holes in the shift must be filled to ensure safe staffing. Nurses are used to picking up the slack, taking overtime, and pitching in. In fact, overtime is an expected and appreciated part of being a nurse. Many use it to help make ends meet. Mandatory overtime, however, is a different matter. Routinely understaffed units that rely on mandatory overtime as the only way to provide safe patient care destroy motivation and morale.

Take a look at the last couple of years' news stories about RN picket lines. Most include complaints about mandatory overtime.

Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at

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