Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Top Reasons Nurses Are Leaving The Profession

There have been several studies predicting that over the next several years nurses will be leaving the profession in droves.  Bolstering those predictions are some of the top reasons for this exodus.

  1. BURNOUT:  Nurses often experience high levels of stress and burnout due to heavy workloads, long hours, and exposure to traumatic situations.  I remember when my son, Evan was in elementary school when, tragically, one of his friends passed away over the summer.  The school provided grief counselors and skilled therapists to help the youngsters process their grief.

In nursing, when we deal with traumatic situations, we are supposed to hide or bury our emotions and just show up the next day.  There is no one there to help us deal with these difficult situations.

  1. LOW PAY:  Despite nurses being the largest workforce in healthcare and providing such a critical role in the field, nurses are inadequately compensated.  You can’t pay people enough money to do some of the things that nurses do every day while sporting a smile on their faces.
  2. LACK OF ADVANCEMENT:  Nurses feel that there’s a limited opportunity for growth and advancement in their careers, especially if they don’t want to work in management.  Many feel stuck and continue with their education only to find that the problems in nursing continue regardless of your education level.
  3. POOR WORKING CONDITIONS:  Nurses work in physically demanding environments and may not have access to resources they need to perform their jobs effectively.  Even though nurses are phenomenal as “MacGyvers” who create workarounds to these problems, they shouldn’t have to.
  4. INSUFFICIENT STAFFING:  When there are not enough nurses on staff, those who are working to compensate for the overall unit feel overworked and are unable to provide the level of care that their patients deserve.  Sometimes, nurses are required to work mandatory overtime, which is hard in and of itself, and they feel they don’t have the energy or stamina to do their best at their job?  Still, they feel compelled to stay because of guilt.
  5. LACK OF MANAGEMENT SUPPORT:  Many nurses feel their concerns are not taken seriously by management and thus do not feel valued and appreciated.
  6. INADEQUATE TRAINING AND EDUCATION.  Many nurses feel that fulfilling their duties is hampered by their lack of knowledge and skills needed to perform their job effectively.  Getting a patient for whom they have not been properly trained can negatively impact their self-confidence or being floated to a different unit to which they are unfamiliar.
  7. SHIFT WORK:  Some nurses work irregular schedules that can prove disruptive to their personal lives and make it difficult to maintain a work-life balance.  From working weekends and holidays to prolonged 12-hour shifts makes it all difficult to have any type of life.
  8. ETHICAL CONFLICTS:  Nurses may be faced with ethical conflicts such as being asked to provide care such as in Catholic institutions that conflicts with their personal or professional values or if they are Catholic and work at a non Catholic institution and be required to provide care that conflicts with their values.
  9. PHYSICAL DEMANDS:  Nurses may suffer physical injuries like strains from 12-hour shifts of walking on hard concrete floors.  They can be injured from tasks such as lifting patients and other physically demanding assignments and tasks.

Based on all these considerations, it’s a wonder fewer people go into the nursing field.  Yet I know we love helping patients and that doing so is in our very DNA.  It’s a calling that we cannot refuse.

Nursing will only get better and improve when we are able to speak our minds and stand together.

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