Questions: Nurses leaving the Profession

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    I have a question about nursing. I am currently an elemenatary school teacher who has been accepted to Nursing School for Spring 2007. I read an old article in "Times Magazine", that stated that the average nurse last about 5 years in the profession (similar to the burnout rate for teachers). I want to know why nurses leave the profession at such a high rate. I know that every profession has its problems and even lawyers and CEO's who make a lot of money gripe about their jobs. But on this board I've heard a lot of nurses post comments about doctor mistreatment, cattiness between co-workers, ill-tempered CNAs, charge nurses, and the like. I've also noticed that many nurses post about a lack of respect from administrators and co-workers even though nurses receive professional training. I 'd like to know some of the reasons why nurses are leaving the profession at such an alarming rate. I'd also like to know if it is better (work atmosphere wise) to work in a hospital, home health, doctor's office, etc.

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  2. 33 Comments...

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    Anouk, it's not the money for me as I make a decent wage, nor am I mistreated by docs, and everyone can be ill tempered at times. The most patients I ever have is five.
    Nursing is HARD work. Patients are sicker, living longer, some take more meds then you could ever imagine, and are heavier. I'm to the point of advocating for bariatric units.
    I feel for those nurses in other states that have more than five patients for med-surg. I know I'd be gone if I had to take 7-9 patients. There's more and more paperwork and yet the hospital doesn't want any overtime.
    Back in the Stone Age we used to have orderlies (usually males) that did a lot of the patient transfers. Nurses are leaving the field with injuries and they have found the myth of "good body mechanics" doesn't account for the repetitive motions nurses go through causing wear and tear over time.
    In some ERs, nurses are exposed to violence and harm to themselves.
    There are more psychiatric patients on the streets now (versus the State hospitals we used to have) and more dementia. I don't feel I have enough training to deal with these patients adequately.
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    HARD isn't the word for it. I think we handle weights equivalent to dock workers. Except if their load drops oh well it's probably be OK.

    Another is the attitude of corporate/money grubbing/micromanaging $UITS

    There's not a task in the world that the $uits don't think should fall on nurses. NO dietary-pass the trays, no phlebotomy-draw it yourself, no unit secretary? answer the lights do the orders and ALSO be a nurse. Fall down go boom-hire another nurse and sweep this one under the carpet. Warm bodies I believe is the bottom line to the $uits.

    And to me IMHO is why we leave the job we love.
    SmilingBluEyes likes this.
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    Yes, nursing is demanding; physically and emotionally. The workload is getting more difficult due to young girls having other choices of professions; the patient population is older, and face we are an obese society. Therefore, physical demands in caring for these patients take a toll on backs, shoulders, necks and knees.

    I have found, and I am speaking IMOO, that nurses typically get bored withing their specialty and like to experience other areas of nursing. So it appears that many are job hopping, when actually some of us get bored easily and are looking for that next opportunity to learn something new. True, some leave the profession after bad experiences with superiors, patients, or families. I believe that you would find similarities in any other occupation. Some realize that after graduation, hey this really is something I don't want to do after all. But I think that most just try to find their niche in an area that meets their expectations and challenges.

    The aging of the nursing profession is something that the powers that be need to recognize and deal with accordingly. That means better staffing, more autonomony, and better salaries. For those of us who devote our lives to helping others we must be paid accordingly.

    You being a teacher would bring experience and patience to nursing; i.e. OB nursing. Lots of teaching in that area too. I think its commendable that you are entering a new phase of studying for another occupation.

    Good luck.!!
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    Read somewhere that teaching and nursing are the 2 highest stress jobs. So, I guess high stress = high burnout rate. People decide to do something else, people decide it isn't for them, they want something different. And from this forum, it seems that job conditions are not the best in some areas. I'm not a nurse yet (first year student) but I'm hoping I find better conditions than some I've read about on here! But I think the hours are more difficult in nursing compared to teaching. I grew up with parents who were teachers and they said it was ideal for families (summer, holidays, breaks). Obviously , in nursing you will have to work all of those plus some. It seems flexible but at a price.
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    Quote from futurecnm
    Read somewhere that teaching and nursing are the 2 highest stress jobs. So, I guess high stress = high burnout rate. People decide to do something else, people decide it isn't for them, they want something different. And from this forum, it seems that job conditions are not the best in some areas. I'm not a nurse yet (first year student) but I'm hoping I find better conditions than some I've read about on here! But I think the hours are more difficult in nursing compared to teaching. I grew up with parents who were teachers and they said it was ideal for families (summer, holidays, breaks). Obviously , in nursing you will have to work all of those plus some. It seems flexible but at a price.
    Please, don't take this the wrong way because I'm not trying to get into a who has a harder job debate, but teaching takes up a lot of your time, especially if you are a new teacher. You have to come up with lesson plans, grade papers, and fill out a lot of paper work. You also have to deal with angry parents and students. In addition to this there has been an upsurge in violence and sexual activity (even among elementary students!) For the amount of hours that one puts in, (for the lack of pay and abuse) it's extremelly difficult profession.
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    I don't think I said teaching was not difficult. I admire all teachers. I know that they spend a lot of time outside of the classroom, especially as new teachers. I know my parents as elementary teacher, did not spend any time outside of the class but I know many junior and high school teachers who have to spend many hours doing grading, planning, etc. I hope my post did not make it sound like teaching is easy.
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    Quote from futurecnm
    I don't think I said teaching was not difficult. I admire all teachers. I know that they spend a lot of time outside of the classroom, especially as new teachers. I know my parents as elementary teacher, did not spend any time outside of the class but I know many junior and high school teachers who have to spend many hours doing grading, planning, etc. I hope my post did not make it sound like teaching is easy.
    No, your post didn't make it seem like teaching was easy. Thank for the post.
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    well future cnm I find its not the pts I need to worry about but the staff around you. For some reason beyond me I see health staff blame those perferably under them for some trivial reason with no adverse health effects to the pt to enhanse thier own status or power. I havent worked out which! Thats the real stress!!!!! Sure pts require more intensive care treatments but thats why we were trained. Its the added extra stress usually inflicted upon us by paper pushers that tend to go beyond the resonable limits of nursing. After that it becomes a dog eat dog world where friendships are non existant because of tensions caused by a unhealthly work ethic & yes that goes back the the $ So what ever happened to respect commitment love of the profession it had been systematically destroyed by bean counters who believe hospitals can be run like a checkout shop. Sorry to be soooooooo negative
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    Like teaching, nursing is a demanding career. There are teachers wanting out of teaching as well as nurses wanting out of nursing. Its very individual.

    Myself, nursing is a second career. I was in public affairs for 10 years before I became a nurse. I like nursing a lot. And by getting an advanced degree, I have more opportunities.


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