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Why do you think nurses leave the profession?

Professionalism   (50,037 Views 143 Comments)
by Designer NP Designer NP (Member)

Designer NP has 12+ years experience and works as a In transition.

9,104 Visitors; 339 Posts

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Reasons nurses leave the profession

  1. 1. Reasons nurses leave the profession

    • Short-staffing
      566
    • Too many tasks
      314
    • Lack of upward mobility
      46
    • Poor management
      311
    • Underpayment
      212
    • Other- please explain below
      144

1,593 members have participated

CaffeinePOQ4HPRN has 10 years experience and works as a RN & RPN.

9,928 Visitors; 352 Posts

I empathize with your fears and frustration over bedside care, but don't think older nurses are the cause of a lack of other opportunities. Many older workers including nurses are routinely laid off to make way for a younger and cheaper replacement. You are overreacting to the situation because you see 70+ people in the workforce. I really do not think that is the problem, I think the majority of nurses retire younger than not either due to disability, pain, illness, layoffs or if they are lucky because they can afford to.

I think you are right that many of the new grads see the sweatshop conditions of bedside nursing and vote with their feet by getting their NP. There is no reason you couldn't do the same, plus you mention you are young and have only been a nurse for a few years. Make the leap! I'm sure you will be glad you did. If you take the time to network and befriend the doctors you work with, they might be able to give you an NP job when you graduate rather than worrying about relocating. Worse case scenario if you had to relocate it would only be a temporary situation just to gain experience. Consider that doctors usually have to relocate first for medical school and then for residency and if they work for a hospital system have a non compete clause that would require them to relocate if they left before the contract was up. While NP's are paid less than doctors most don't have to move around as much, yet alone end up in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt and years in school and residency.

If I was younger I would do just that, but I'm choosing to save for retirement, and pay off my mortgage. I share your frustration about bedside nursing, especially the foley free movement and the increasing size of patients we have now that take 3-4 people to move and still be afraid of getting hurt or ending up in chronic pain. Be smart, don't stay at the bedside, but go back to school and get your NP instead. You'll be glad you did!

The aging workforce is not the only catalyst to this issue, but they are a catalyst. Once again, going back to the OPs question, these are all reasons why I think a "lack of upward mobility/career options" is the main reason why many nurses leave the profession.

On my unit, I am the second youngest Nurse, the median age of my colleagues is 55yrs old. One of my favorite colleagues is 67yrs old and allegedly keeps her full-time position out of interest... My thinking is, if that's the case she should switch to casual status so someone else can have the full-time position and gain experience. So many grads are unemployed. The two main reasons we cannot hire new grads onto my unit are a) because we don't have the budget, and b) no one is retiring to make positions available. With a lack of options, new nurses take positions in the least desirable areas/conditions to "pay their dues" or get their foot in the door only to realize years and years later that they're stuck there. These students graduate with debt and the positions they're forced to take are usually casual status, no health/insurance benefits leaving them no ability to save money for or even conceive the concept of retirement.

Also, to become an NP in Canada is lengthy and expensive (1st you must obtain BScN-here it's 4yrs in length, and for all us lpn/rpn who graduated with 2-years diplomas to bridge to the BScN it's an additional 3years minimum... Not to mention many of us have undergraduate degrees in a different discipline, 2nd you must get a Masters - 2 years in length minimum, then 3rd you apply for consideration into the NP Program). By the time you're done, unless you're independently wealthy, you're approaching astronomical student loans well into six figures. I'm not opposed to going that route, but my negative experiences in the nursing profession far outweigh the good and have made me skeptical about investing more into the nursing profession.

One thing is for certain, I will never work bedside again! Not if I can help it.

Edited by CaffeinePOQ4HPRN

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and works as a Staff nurse educator.

4 Followers; 4 Articles; 102,607 Visitors; 8,595 Posts

One of my favorite colleagues is 67yrs old and allegedly keeps her full-time position out of interest... My thinking is, if that's the case she should switch to casual status so someone else can have the full-time position and gain experience. So many grads are unemployed.

I'm sorry, but I see the statement above as ageist and reeking of entitlement. No one has the right to say someone should stop working except that person, unless there are safety issues. Nursing is finally seeing what pretty much every other profession has seen for years: competition that prevents everyone from getting their "dream job". It's not about "paying dues"; it's about taking a job you are offered and making the best of it.

You really want older nurses to step aside? Okay, let me know where to send my bills so you can pay them. Then, us older nurses, who really are resources for those young, inexperienced nurses, will step aside and let the cards fall where they will.

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1,033 Visitors; 12 Posts

All of the above.

I would also like to add:

1) onset or exacrebation of mental health issues due to the nature of our work

2) politics and gossiping

3) unappreciated from higher ups. Only look at what you do wrong, never point out any good qualities. Don't need it all the time, once in awhile it would be nice.

4) cliques and unwelcoming sense

I am in a tough spot right now as I am trying to decide if I should stick it out as new grad or go down to casual while I study for something else. My mental health is getting worse each time I go to work. :arghh:

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No Stars In My Eyes has 43 years experience and works as a Retired.

1 Follower; 43,358 Visitors; 2,468 Posts

One of my favorite colleagues is 67yrs old and allegedly keeps her full-time position out of interest... My thinking is, if that's the case she should switch to casual status so someone else can have the full-time position and gain experience.

These students graduate with debt and the positions they're forced to take are usually casual status, no health/insurance benefits leaving them no ability to save money for or even conceive the concept of retirement

I am 66 and a half and I 'allegedly' work so that I can earn a living; I have almost zero benes from my employer; in fact they reduced our hourly-rate pay by 2.3%, which leaves me somehow earning less than I did in 1990....which leaves me no ability to save money for or even conceive the concept of retirement.

There's definitely some similarities twixt the grads and the hanging-on-with-a-death-grip-COBs like me! The more things change the more they stay the same; for instance the young single-mother grad has definite needs. The flip side of that is an older should-be-retired-nurse who has a parent to care for, and all that implies.

I have to hustle to get in 36 hours of work each week, and it is seldom I can patch together 40 hours, since we work 12 hour shifts. I tried to go 'casual', which I assume is kind of very part-time, a PRN position, or the like. My 'semi-retirement' lasted 3 wonderful weeks.

And then my car died. :confused:

So, it's back to the same ol' eame ol'. And, by gawd, I've got a ton of seniority (30 yrs) at this place, so that dern well ort to count for sumthin'!

Personally I'd like to be able to pay off MY debt, as well, which in my case isn't educational debt, but rather a home mortgage. I would ideally love to completely retire, but as things are now, that would leave me living in a cardboard box and hoofing it around town for meals at the various soup-kitchens.

I always pictured myself and the Hubs traveling around in the ubiquitous, cliche'd RV, with a little dog and a small car to tow behind us....

COME ON, PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE! I Am SOOOO READY!:yes:

Edited by No Stars In My Eyes
I shoulda proof-read better,

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1,815 Visitors; 163 Posts

I just had a patient tell me yesterday that we are glorified maids which made me feel pretty shifty about myself and want to pursue a higher degree now. Also liability, you can't make a mistake because your ass is grass! You can lose your license and be jobless and broke. So you are always paranoid...did I do this, did I reposition that patient, ****! I forgot to grab a sandwich for my patient who asked me twice! Etc... if I could go back 10 years and chose a different career path I would.

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and works as a Staff nurse educator.

4 Followers; 4 Articles; 102,607 Visitors; 8,595 Posts

Also liability, you can't make a mistake because your ass is grass! You can lose your license and be jobless and broke.

If you look through the vast majority of license sanctions, you will find that they are for drug/alcohol issues or related to criminal activity. Those who actually lose their licenses for a mistake in nursing care are few and far between. This seems to be a common misperception drilled into nursing students; the fact of the matter is that it's not as easy as many thing to have a license suspended/revoked.

I worked with one nurse whose license was suspended. Was it suspended for a nursing mistake? No, it was suspended because she embezzled from several organizations her children were involved with. In my 10+ years as a nurse, I've never known anyone personally who has had license sanctions as a result of how they practiced as a nurse.

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Designer NP has 12+ years experience and works as a In transition.

9,104 Visitors; 339 Posts

I felt like a glorified maid a good deal of the time I was at the bedside.

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lavenderskies has 7 years experience.

5,844 Visitors; 345 Posts

I left because of three things.

3) I was disillusioned with the interventions being performed on patients and the way we treated people when they'd voice a preference to avoid those things.

2) I started a family and didn't want my job to be constantly taking me away in nights weekends and holidays.

1) When I requested to go PT the administration said no. FT or nothing. So I quit. I was angry that there was zero flexibility and it felt like they tossed me aside.

Why am I going back? I'm hoping different stage in life, different hospital, maturity to accept the system....will make it doable. Time will tell.

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172 Visitors; 4 Posts

Nurses quit because the job is difficult and it's possible to find a similar paying job with less stress.

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1,168 Visitors; 23 Posts

What do you mean by device industry? can you explain? thank you.

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