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Is Job Hopping the Norm for Nurses?

Posted

Specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, Dialysis, Hospice. Has 26 years experience.

Just curious. I have been seeking a new job over the past week or so because the job I am currently in requires me to work 14-17 hours a day, plus take on call some nights after that. I can't reconcile myself to doing this, both for my patients and myself. However, I have worked at this job for only about fifteen months, and I was at my previous job for just about the same amount of time, due to my hours being changed and not being conducive to my family needs at the time. I have been an RN for over 20 years and have a lot of varied experience under my belt, so that should surely help in my search for a better position.

As I have been seeking work, I have been feeling kind of ashamed at having been at these positions for such a relatively short period of time, so I have been reading some resumes' of other RNs in my area on Indeed.com just to see how I compare. What I have been finding is that the vast majority of them seem to have job hopped. I'm talking about working six months here, eight months there, etc. Some of these nurses have four or five employers listed just in the past five years!

I'm just wondering if I am too worried about my recent track record in terms of longevity in a position, and if potential employers would be more willing to overlook it due to my years of varied experience and the fact that so many other applicants have job hopped way more than I have.

Do you think that job hopping has become the norm for a large number of nurses? Do you see this in your workplace? I'm just curious.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I have been at my current workplace for approximately four years. This is the longest stretch of time I've worked at any place.

I have been a nurse for eight years. In that time I've held several full-time jobs and multiple PRN gigs. I'll remain at my current workplace as long as my needs for a reasonable work environment and steady compensation are being met. Otherwise, I will not hesitate to seek work elsewhere.

I've realized that the grass is not always greener on the other side. I've also realized that, as someone with a malcontent personality, I'll never be happy doing the same thing for too long, so I anticipate a few more job hops during my career.

PacoUSA, BSN, RN

Specializes in PCU / Telemetry. Has 9 years experience.

While I wouldn't say that job hopping looks good on a resume right now (it definitely does not), it is a generational thing. What I mean is that the days of people staying at one job for 20, 30 or more years are fading away. Lives change so fast these days and jobs change right along with them. Jobs dont offer incentives the way they used to, and the cultures change too. People born in the millennial era tend to get more bored at a job they are at too long and want a change, whereas Baby Boomers tend to be more loyal. There are exceptions to the rule of course but there's no denying that times have changed. Staying at a job these days for more than 5 years particularly in nursing is starting to be quite unusual.

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SubSippi

Has 2 years experience.

I think it is becoming the norm, but I don't think it's due to personality qualities of the younger generations.

A PP said that baby boomers might be more loyal, and I don't doubt that's true in many instances. But I'd like to point out that many of our administrators are in that generation, and don't seem to have much loyalty to their employees.

Employers now don't seem to offer many benefits to those who stay in one position for years and years. Raises hardly ever happen, and I often hear people say that the only way to really get paid for your work experience is to go from hospital to hospital.

If there's not incentive to stay, then why pass up a more interesting opportunity elsewhere? Young people now are also waiting longer to get married and have children, and without those sort of responsibilities I think it's easier to make big changes as far as a career goes.

~PedsRN~, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Pediatrics. Has 4 years experience.

I feel like it's the norm.... I have been on my unit since I became a nurse, and honestly can't imagine working elsewhere. But in my short time there (three years), I have seen so many nurses come and go. The grass is always greener?????

PacoUSA, BSN, RN

Specializes in PCU / Telemetry. Has 9 years experience.

What I should have said is that Baby Boomers tend to be more loyal "to their employers" ... yes. To their employees, likely a whole other story :D .... I also did point out that there are exceptions to the rules, but I'd be hard pressed to find a millennial in this day and age who is planning to or will actually stay at their present job for the next 30 years. I'm a Generation X'er, and I don't even believe that's me. A Baby Boomer I work with stresses out about calling in sick because she is worried that the unit will be short a nurse. Our later generations for the most part dont give it a second thought.

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Caffeine_IV

Specializes in LTC, med/surg, hospice. Has 7 years experience.

I don't know if it is normal but I don't find it unusual. There aren't any incentives to stay for 10+ years...they may give you a pin and a mention in the monthly newsletter.

Of course if you find a position you like with minimal or tolerable crap, most are inclined to stay.

I stayed on a crap job because I enjoyed my coworkers. Had a baby and came back and 4 of them were gone with 2 more planning to retire. I left as soon as I got a position elsewhere.

TU RN

Specializes in ICU, PCU. Has 8 years experience.

Seeing young nurses flee a workplace because they aren't natural fits for the specialty or culture is one thing. Seeing experienced nurses of 10-20 years leaving the unit (on which they spent the better half of their adult lives) because they've slowly been eroded and mistreated from every direction until burnout is downright demoralizing.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

I've been a nurse for 7 years. I've had 3 jobs. The first I was at for 4 1/2 years, the second I did PRN for a year and a half (along with my current job) and my current job I've been at for 2 1/2 years.

That's more employers than my mother has worked for in the 40 years she's been a teacher. It's true it's generational. My father spent his entire career with the same company (technically, it got bought out several times but he didn't change jobs), my Uncle's been with the same company for his whole career, etc. I can't imagine staying put for that long. I don't intend on staying in my current job forever. Change can be a good thing. Too much change, of course, will make you look like a job hopper. If you spend less than 2 years at a job, you risk being labeled as such.

NurseCard, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

I've been a job hopper. I stayed at my first nursing job for seven years altogether. Left that job in 2006 and since that time I've had seven different jobs. I've left all of those jobs for various reasons but actually went into most of them with the intention of staying indefinitely.

I don't think it's unusual, especially with nurses, but I definitely do not think it looks good on a resume. Definitely not.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

I've had 7 jobs in the past 6 years, including one that lasted for 2 1/2 years. Part of my issues with holding onto jobs are a low tolerance for being treated like crap, the rest have to do with a general restlessness and boredom that creep in a couple of years into a job. I've finally given up on the idea of the "forever job" that I looked for during my entire career, and am now looking outside of nursing for something I can tolerate for awhile.

It doesn't help that the only thing I really want to do for the rest of my life is write. It's all I ever have wanted to do, but of course I've got to eat and pay rent. Nursing was good to me financially; not so good for me mentally and emotionally, which is another reason I've had such a tough time hanging onto jobs. :notworthy:

sistrmoon

Specializes in Oncology. Has 14 years experience.

I've been in my job for 6 years and seen much turnover. So it's not the norm for me but does seem to be for everyone else! We have a handful of people there 10-15 years.

Going from one extended care case to another, and from one agency to another, is par for the course in home health. But what takes the cake with some of my recent employers of late, is having the employer tell the client that I, their employee, am too old to do the job. This happened when the client asked for a schedule change because they already liked how I was doing the job! Sabotage by the employer is not easy to stomach.

NurseCard, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

Yeah... all I want to do at this point is be an illustrator for children's books and magazines and such. But like you say, gotta pay the bills.

I'm doing home health right now and I actually love it. However I am overworked and have a special needs child at home who really needs me here more than I am. The stress is piling up and the pressure to jump ship is there every day. Can't seem to find anything else that's halfway decent though so I'm sticking around.

People's lives change, they move, they have children, aged parents, other responsibilities.

The newest and greatest cultures on a unit are so far removed from what a long term nurse is used to. Administration who would rather hire anyone other than to support nurses who have been on a unit for any length of time. Even more who make the working environment so uncomfortable just this shy of unsafe that nurses who know better feel that there's little choice. But that's ok, as in fact a nurse with longevity costs them a whole lotta money--and they can get 2 of you and mold em to their own image.

And nurses who believe that something else--anything else--would be better. And quickly find out that it is not necessarily the unit, the facility, the system--it is that nursing has changed.

Loyalty is a thing of the long past. The only goal and objective of adminstration is the bottom line. Period. Oh, that and that ya'll won't make an error that causes them risk--cause experienced nurses know better than to stay past the time that it is in a patient's best interest--and they are banking on that.

One of the great things about nursing is all of the options and career paths one can take.

I became a nurse for a lot of reasons, but one of them was for the multitude of options and never having to be bored or stagnant in my job or my learning. I like to learn and experience new things. I love the ICU, but as a new nurse I can honestly say I have no desire to stay in the ICU or any other specialty for 20 years. I want to experience a lot of different specialties. I don't ever want to stay in something long enough where it's just the same thing like clockwork and I'm not learning anything new. So, that's the reason I see myself becoming a "job hopper."

westieluv

Specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, Dialysis, Hospice. Has 26 years experience.

Well, I had planned on staying with my current company indefinitely, because 1) I was trained to do a specific skill that is in high demand (dialysis) and 2) because the company is huge and I could transfer within the company to virtually any city in the country. However, going into it, I had no idea that it would require me to potentially work 24 hrs. out of a 24 hr. period, and I cannot just bite the bullet and accept this. It is not safe for patients, first and foremost, and it is certainly not safe for my license, because if I were to make a critical mistake due to fatigue (and it would be fairly easy to make a critical mistake when running a dialysis treatment), I know that my company would not stand with me and accept any responsibility for working me such unacceptable hours. They would get out their team of top notch healthcare lawyers and effectively throw me under the bus, and then hire another peon to take my place.

Fortunately, this has a happy ending, because within a week of starting to look, I had several companies interested in me and I have actually accepted a position that has nothing to do with dialysis and has a set, NORMAL, schedule, thank God!

My plan is to now stay for at least 4-5 years, as I am still determined not to continue to be a job hopper. I yearn for the permanency of a nursing job that "clicks" and where I can see myself five, or even ten, years from now, and this one seems to fit the bill.

sistrmoon

Specializes in Oncology. Has 14 years experience.

One of the great things about nursing is all of the options and career paths one can take.

I became a nurse for a lot of reasons, but one of them was for the multitude of options and never having to be bored or stagnant in my job or my learning. I like to learn and experience new things. I love the ICU, but as a new nurse I can honestly say I have no desire to stay in the ICU or any other specialty for 20 years. I want to experience a lot of different specialties. I don't ever want to stay in something long enough where it's just the same thing like clockwork and I'm not learning anything new. So, that's the reason I see myself becoming a "job hopper."

I've been in Onc 7 years total and I still learn something every shift. There is chemo cert, Ommayas, etc not to mention all the med surg overflow. I understand what you are saying but I don't think that just because you stay in the same job/specialty that you are stagnant.