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Nurses are Fleeing the Hospital

Updated | Published
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist)

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Nurses have simply had enough and are walking out of acute care. How far will it go? Have we seen the peak yet? You are reading page 3 of Nurses are Fleeing the Hospital. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

Doris Carroll, BSN

Specializes in L&D/HIV/ID/OB/GYN Primary Care Adults/Children. Has 38 years experience.

Previous poster stated “poor work ethic” might account for nurses leaving. Wow. As a nurse of 38yr, no not a poor work ethic. As Beth stated, Covid has shown the spotlight on our healthcare staffing failures. I fear it will collapse. But my cynical voice says— administration knows staffing crisis wax and wane. They’ll do ANYTHING to wait it out, instead of passing legislation. What I fear is UAPs will manage the bedside then. They’ll watch RNs leave in a mass exodus- to get unskilled cheap labor. It’s already happened in ambulatory settings for decades. #NursesUnite #StandUp #NationalStrike

Jordee, BSN, RN

Specializes in Bahavioral health. Has 26 years experience.

I work on a super busy heavy unit.  The turnover is such that 1/2 the floor nurses are now new grads from the last 1 1/2 years that I've been at my job.  Experienced nurses are realizing they are grossly underpaid.  They are joining agencies and travel nursing and/or trying to go part time and get a second agency job.  Experienced nurses are also sick of precepting agency nurses who get paid way more.  One Agency shift is the equivalent of 3 times or more what a staff nurse makes in 3 shifts.  Staff nurses are also not always offered a bonus for picking up a shift.  $25 hour bonus on top of an average $36 hourly rate and the hospital balk at that.  Another reason is that its a numbers game.  If you start with 5 pts, and discharge 2--you will get two admissions and possibly a 3rd if they say nurses will go up to 6 patients that shift.  That's 8 patients! Acuity does not matter anymore. Nurses are simply exhausted after 12 hours.

InHisImage, BSN

Specializes in ER, Occupational Health. Has 14 years experience.

57 minutes ago, Doris Carroll said:

Previous poster stated “poor work ethic” might account for nurses leaving. Wow. As a nurse of 38yr, no not a poor work ethic. As Beth stated, Covid has shown the spotlight on our healthcare staffing failures. I fear it will collapse. But my cynical voice says— administration knows staffing crisis wax and wane. They’ll do ANYTHING to wait it out, instead of passing legislation. What I fear is UAPs will manage the bedside then. They’ll watch RNs leave in a mass exodus- to get unskilled cheap labor. It’s already happened in ambulatory settings for decades. #NursesUnite #StandUp #NationalStrike

I agree that there is a current culture of poor work ethic today, in ALL professions, but those who ascribe to that culture are not the nurses leaving healthcare in droves.  These folks, instead, are expert at finding ways to do the least amount of work for the most pay.  They are loath to give up a job that pays relatively well when they are not held to the standard that is required of nurses who are doing what is expected.

Edited by InHisImage

AnLe, ASN, RN

Specializes in Medsurg/Tele. Has 3 years experience.

9 minutes ago, Jordee said:

Acuity does not matter anymore. Nurses are simply exhausted after 12 hours.

No joke. We currently have our covid patients split up on multiple floors based on care level. I get 6 tele covid patients, but 3 are total cares. Confused feeders who are incontinent and don't appear to be getting discharged anytime soon. But for continuity of care, my load doesn't get balanced even if I ask. We have staff refusing to go into covid rooms for x or y reason, giving me more to do. 

Our hospital system is offering contracts to work x days * x weeks for a bonus but it doesn't amount to what the travelers are making. Apparently travelers are meant to float first, but sometimes they complain and nurses have to be switched around. The new grad who was hired got a sign-on bonus and makes what I do. How is this fair? I'm trying to provide safe care for my patients and educate my orientee while helping our staff of floats and travelers. If it weren't for the core nursing staff and my fear of possibly working on a toxic environment, I'd go elsewhere. 

InHisImage, BSN

Specializes in ER, Occupational Health. Has 14 years experience.

Nursing is second career for me and I've been at it for almost 14 years.  I've had a variety of positions but because I've worked 2 jobs for about half of that time, most of my experience has been in the ER.  I have experienced most of what has already been posted and agree with it all.  I now work in occupational health for large corporation and it's no different.  There have been many times during the years when I've been tempted to leave healthcare.  I'm on the edge of quitting now, mostly because of staffing issues and constantly being expected to do more with less, but the straw that will likely do it for me would be a vaccine mandate.  So far my company has not announced a mandate and one of the medical directors has said that this company never will, but people lie or change their minds based on what's convenient at the time, so I'm prepared to leave if it comes to that, and maybe sooner if things don't change before I've had enough.

Robmoo, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in BSN, RN, CVRN-BC. Has 25 years experience.

Working conditions in bedside nursing are long hours which are physically and mentally taxing with very little in the way of a breaks to use the bathroom, grab a drink, or just catch ones breath.  Unfortunately COVID19 has only made work conditions even worse.  Some nurses have left the bedside because the working conditions have just become too much.  Many hospitals treat nursing as a commodity.  This treatment has left many nurses loyal only to their next paycheck.  If a nurse can earn $100/hour or more working for an agency or a travel company then I really can't fault them.  Perhaps hospital administrators will realize that loyalty is a two way street?  I won't hold my breath.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

3 hours ago, Wuzzie said:

2 call-offs today. 5 staff usually level-headed staff members in tears this morning. I called on  our psych CNS to intervene (they are primarily staff-support CNSs). I should not have to be the one to do it. Our tone-deaf and obviously blind manager should be aware of what is going on and getting us the support we  need. 

Yikes! What specialty do you work in? I think that was a great idea to call someone from psych. I think most nurses need some psychiatric help after working bedside, especially after covid. I've been reading articles about ptsd, depression, and anxiety in bedside nurses. I hope you and your coworkers get the help you need in terms of staffing and in terms of mental health support, although from what you've described of your management I doubt they will be contributing... 

Gary Mendoza

Specializes in Emergency Department.

As the founder and admin of one of the largest FB groups for healthcare travelers, I have seen three major reasons why nurses are currently leaving their hospitals:

1. Covid burn-out

2. Forced Covid injections

3. Leaving a low paying staff position for lucrative travel positions.

Edited by Gary Mendoza
Correction

EMTdude

Specializes in Patient Care Tech, EMT. Has 6 years experience.

It’s funny reading these comments “I made lower than minimum wage!” “I have 20, or 40 patients that I have to do Adl’s and there’s no end in sight” BUT I bet 95% of the RN’s complaining on this forum were 100% okay when it was their PCA and tech experiencing the same thing, and all while the techs and PCA’s also had to go to school full time, AND we’re making LESS than minimum wage (at least I was, working in Boulder, CO in 2018 at less than $11 an hour, despite the median income being over 75k for the city.

I think that you get what you give, that’s why I got into nursing, after having a heart attack  - looking back, if I had a dollar for every time I got an eye roll or an “I’m busy, sorry” when asking my nurses for help to turn, or assist, all while they were hanging out on theirs cellphone at the nurses station, maybe I wouldn’t have gone homeless, at that time and would still be going to school for a masters.

Seems like a lot of nurses never really cared about fairness and wages, except for their own, and now nursing as a whole is in a crunch… when you loose sight of caring for one another, and that means the people below you, then you have nothing to stand on because you are the ones who never respected or cared about the foundation that supported you without a fault (or hard work many do for decades, and RN’s say anything because the way the majority treat their PCA’s is that they “don’t matter” or it’s “just the way it is”. 

From one person with multiple degrees, to all those entitled nurses with one degree, who hate their job, and have forgotten what perspective is - get a new one, what makes you so special or different? You’re not the only ones who have had their dreams crushed by terrible coworkers, and policies all meant to make you feel the squeeze - besides, “that’s just the way it is now”.

1 hour ago, EMTdude said:

It’s funny reading these comments “I made lower than minimum wage!” “I have 20, or 40 patients that I have to do Adl’s and there’s no end in sight”

Funny, I don't see anybody saying this in this thread.

 

1 hour ago, EMTdude said:

BUT I bet 95% of the RN’s complaining on this forum were 100% okay when it was their PCA and tech experiencing the same thing,

And you know this how?

1 hour ago, EMTdude said:

From one person with multiple degrees, to all those entitled nurses with one degree, who hate their job, and have forgotten what perspective is - get a new one, what makes you so special or different?

Haven't seen this either. 

You seem to have a giant chip on your shoulder. Perhaps you would be better served addressing the people who wronged you in your past rather than slinging vitriol all over absolute strangers. 

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

2 hours ago, Gary Mendoza said:

As the founder and admin of one of the largest FB groups for healthcare travelers, I have seen three major reasons why nurses are currently leaving their hospitals:

1. Covid burn-out

2. Forced Covid injections

3. Leaving a low paying staff position for lucrative travel positions.

re: #2 - Poor choice of words, as some uninformed idio..., I mean, folks out there think that the vaccine gives you the disease.

And in response to it being a reason for nurses leaving, well, good riddance.

Hannahbanana, BSN, MSN

Specializes in Physiology, CM, consulting, nsg edu, LNC, COB. Has 51 years experience.

On 8/23/2021 at 4:18 PM, LibraNurse27 said:

The New York Times recently published an article about this as well, and how the forever feared "nursing shortage" is now actually happening, and projected to get worse when a large number of nurses in their 50s and 60s retire soon.

"... are retiring now." There, I fixed that for you. 🙂