Nursing Notes

August 11, 2011

5 Reasons Nurses Want to Leave Your Hospital

Here is a really good article from HealthLeaders Media.  I frequently find great articles on this site, so I do encourage you to visit there and look for yourself.  After reading this article, I felt that my thoughts had been broadcasted out into the internet.  This article discusses the comments and thoughts of all the nurses I have ever worked with as well as my own thoughts.  I would like to add a 6th reason for a nurse to be looking to leave a hospital and that is personal safety.  If the facility does not think enough of its nurses to protect them from random attacks, it is definitely time to leave.

Please read this article and come back here to let me know what you think.  I love a good discussion, don’t you?


Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, August 9, 2011

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

Although economic woes abound, nurses are planning their exit strategies and will make a move when things improve. A recent survey from healthcare recruiters AMN Healthcare found that one-quarter of the 1,002 registered nurses surveyed say they will look for a new place to work as the economy recovers.

Are your nurses engaged, committed employees? Or are they biding their time until they can go somewhere better? 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.

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…[read the rest]


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  1. Historically, nurses have been the unsung, and sometimes, oppressed, suppressed and depressed heroes of our healthcare system. In researching my new book, “The History and Evolution of Health Care in America: The untold backstory of where we’ve been, where we are and why health care needs more reform!” I learned first-hand the many accomplishments and benefits the nursing profession has brought to our current non-system – system.

    I also gained a keen understanding on the role they could be playing if we actually reform the current supply chain and reallocate the approved roles of all in our health care continuum. For us to be successful in redeveloping the practice and delivery of health care in America we must reanalyze and redefine the role of these vital participants in our virtual network of care.

    Great Article!

    Thomas Loker

    Comment by Thomas W. Loker — August 11, 2011 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  2. .Mandatory Overtime.Bad for Nurses–Worse for Patients.Mandatory overtime affects both healthcare workers and healthcare consumers. Since the mid-1990s hospitals have used mandatory overtime as standard practice in an attempt to cut costs by not hiring additional nurses. Nurses and other direct care staff are being required to work double shifts often without any advance notice which can also put a severe strain on their family obligations.

    Comment by dieta — September 8, 2011 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  3. get back to work will you!!!!! complaining about 12 hr shifts wanting 4% pay rise bloody whingers!
    80% of you are nothing more than egotistical bitches spiteful calculating morons who study for so long that when you get qualifications your so burnt out because of all the bullshit you each other feed yourselves…… Just go back to work and think back to the reason why you all become nurses in the first place… all means contact me
    jon wilson facebook or email me
    i would love nothing more than to debate this all day long

    Comment by jon wilson — November 21, 2011 @ 9:29 am | Reply

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    Comment by Immigration Advice in Sutton — July 26, 2013 @ 11:55 am | Reply

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