Over 70% of Nurse Staff Turnover is Due to Bad Leadership

Updated | Published
by Brenda F. Johnson Brenda F. Johnson, MSN

Specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing. Has 30 years experience.

We all have had bad managers and good managers, but there is a phenomena regarding the bad ones. How do they get into management? How are they able to keep their jobs? Is it because upper management is lazy and doesn’t want to bother with replacing them? Could it be that no one reports the bad managers and therefore upper management doesn’t know? Let’s discuss!

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NursesTakeDC

Specializes in Safe Staffing Advocate/Group. 3 Articles; 27 Posts

I would like to see actual researched data to confirm that claim. Not just a leadership class work book.

Tomascz, ASN, RN

Specializes in Wound care; CMSRN. Has 7 years experience. 118 Posts

Managers work to fulfill the needs of management. Management at the floor level has an impossible job trying to mollify JCAH, Medicare, Infection control, burned out nurses, etc etc etc. Beyond that they have to deal with trying to keep up with the impossible demands of administration to constantly do more with less.

We tell nurses who hate bedside to move up. Nurses who hate direct patient care don't make good nurse managers. Management is about dealing with people under stress effectively and humanely. Surprise.
Nobody wants to deal with suits who have no idea what your job really entails or what empathy looks like. There is no room for any level of arrogance anywhere in a healing facility. The list goes on...

CaptKris

CaptKris

116 Posts

The problem is the lack of direct feedback to upper management. No one says no to the CNO. They may say, "That will be difficult", but not "no that's dumb" because it is career suicide. It's like a group of people all standing around smelling their own farts and telling everyone they don't stink because they drive a prius. It all starts with ANM's. They want a non threatening never written up goodie two shoes that has been on the unit for years. Demonstrates great nursing, accepts all new policy changes with no flack, leadership skills were "learned" in corporate leadership inservices. They take those and cull the popular ones into NM's and it can become very cliquish to those outside and insulates them into the management world. If they do it right like keep a rotating musical chairs setup of directors so that every few years they maintain some fresh blood. Poof they will distill "proper leadership" that's accountable for numbers and not how they get them. This may not be a popular opinion but it's been what I've observed at multiple hospital systems in a non union setting. The new trend is to get rid of ANM's. Just have an experienced "charge" that takes 3-4 patients. Turf the ANM responsibilities to nurse managers and provide no direct path for advancement and hire compliant outside leadership from other hospitals.

Diploma'82

Diploma'82

59 Posts

Amen to this!

OUxPhys

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 7 years experience. 1,202 Posts

100%. There are too many people in charge who did not spend enough time at the bedside or forgot where they came from.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,363 Posts

On 12/4/2019 at 9:15 PM, NursesTakeDC said:

I would like to see actual researched data to confirm that claim. Not just a leadership class work book.

The figure, according to a Gallup poll, is actually more like 50%.

https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236570/employees-lot-managers.aspx

CharleeFoxtrot, BSN, RN

Has 11 years experience. 840 Posts

On 12/7/2019 at 8:44 AM, CaptKris said:

... It's like a group of people all standing around smelling their own farts and telling everyone they don't stink because they drive a prius.

? South Park fan, eh?

Nurse2001

Nurse2001

Specializes in Med surge. Has 6 years experience. 4 Posts

I know this is old but I came upon this article and I agree with the writer.  Bully managers are the worst but I have not had a good manager so far.  When your manager is a bully there is no way but to leave.  When your preceptor is a bully when your clinical instructor on orientation is a bully it is just the worst.  Most nurses leave because of working conditions not because they don’t like their nursing responsibilities. So please don’t try to blame high turnover rate on nurses who can’t handle the stressful job, it’s not the exposure to patients that drives nurses to quit it is the environment that lacks support staff/lazy support staff, supply shortages, under staffed environment, overworked residents who don’t want to be bothered, favoritism by nurse managers, residents who have no respect for hospital policies that were created for patient safety and management who won’t defend nurses in their journey to adhere to hospital policies.  When you want to help your patients but you can’t because of all reasons I mentioned it hurts your soul.  

Brenda F. Johnson, MSN

Specializes in Gastrointestinal Nursing. Has 30 years experience. 99 Articles; 321 Posts

On 6/26/2021 at 1:11 PM, Nurse2001 said:

I know this is old but I came upon this article and I agree with the writer.  Bully managers are the worst but I have not had a good manager so far.  When your manager is a bully there is no way but to leave.  When your preceptor is a bully when your clinical instructor on orientation is a bully it is just the worst.  Most nurses leave because of working conditions not because they don’t like their nursing responsibilities. So please don’t try to blame high turnover rate on nurses who can’t handle the stressful job, it’s not the exposure to patients that drives nurses to quit it is the environment that lacks support staff/lazy support staff, supply shortages, under staffed environment, overworked residents who don’t want to be bothered, favoritism by nurse managers, residents who have no respect for hospital policies that were created for patient safety and management who won’t defend nurses in their journey to adhere to hospital policies.  When you want to help your patients but you can’t because of all reasons I mentioned it hurts your soul.  

Thank you for your comments. I couldn't agree more