I think some do feel stuck. Many of my RN coworkers have families & mortgages, etc. They are used to a certain level of income. Though they may not love their job, it is somewhat comfortable after X number of years. You get to a point where you are good at what you do. And even though I hear people b*tching about work, I don't see anyone making plans to go to a better environment or another career they might like better. The thought of going into a new area, or changing careers is too much to think about for many.
I am so burned out myself, and can't imagine what miracle it would take to keep me at this for 20 + years. I like the "theory" of being a nurse, but the reality is I have no quality time for patients, the stress levels are high, there are rarely any real lunch breaks, and there is always overtime. Everytime you turn around, there's some new "standard" or duty added to my already overburdened list. In addition, I am more than a little tired of missing out on family gatherings and all the holidays.
I really thought at first that maybe it was just acute care hospitals that are burning nurses out, but after surfing the web, I think healthcare in general is the problem. I have considered other non traditional nursing roles, but I'm not entirely sure if I am willing to switch specialties forever until I find my supposed "niche." I'm pretty sick of the unrealistic expectations imposed on nurses.
For now, I just transferred to a less stressful floor & cut back my hours. It's a nice change, but I can't say it has "fixed" the old problems. I'm going back to college in January to learn a new profession. ;-) It may take a few years, but I'm willing to give it a whirl. I am jealous of friends who say they love their job. I do have my "moments" where I love what I do, but for the most part, I'd rather be called off & get to stay home!