Why Nurses Quit and How to Get Them to Stay

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a nationwide shortage of over 1 million nurses by 2022.1 Needless to say, it’s important not only to improve recruiting of new nurses, but especially to focus on retention of your current nursing corps.

The total cost to recruit, vet, and hire a nurse is upwards of 1.3x that nurses salary. What does that mean for hospitals, doctors and healthcare facilities? A total cost of $5.2 to $81. million annually.

That number, while striking on its own, doesn’t factor in the impact on patient care and other important elements. In other words, retaining your nurses (and keeping them happy) is critical.

Why Do Nurses Quit?

Half of nurses think about quitting.2 As a standalone statistic, it is quite striking. But when you consider the mental and emotional impact of that statement, let alone the impact on patient care, it is especially concerning. Many nurses are frustrated, burned out, and are thinking about greener pastures.

Understanding these three (3) core reasons why nurses quit – and addressing them can save you millions each year, while helping you provide better patient care:

1. Negative work environment.

This reason is a compelling one, but it is also, in many ways, all encompassing. More nurses than ever are suffering from bullying3 in the workplace. Hazing, bullying, name calling nurses (especially young nurses) are often subjected to incredibly demeaning and stressful treatment from more senior nurses, administrators and doctors. Identifying bullying situations and handling them swiftly is essential to preserve and/or build a positive work environment for all employees.

For many nurses, who spend 12-hour shifts on their feet, treating patients with grace and compassion, communication with management is a struggle. Who has the time to schedule meetings? Yet, poor communication with management can make it difficult for nurses to share feedback, request changes, or report serious behavior (like the aforementioned bullying).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, novice and experienced nurses thrive in a positive work environment. Mentoring relationships provide an opportunity for experienced, perhaps weary nurses to see their jobs through the eyes of a “rookie.” Young, intimidated nurses can learn from savvy veterans. And perhaps even more importantly, nurses of all experience levels can learn to work together and see each other as allies.

An open communication platform that keeps nurses in the loop on changes at your facility, allows them to freely share feedback and communicate with leadership, and also keeps them on the pulse of your organization can have a tremendous impact. Since so many nurses do not have the time or ability to schedule long meetings and review important topics that impact their on-the-job happiness, an employee engagement platform (like hubEngage) can be an effective tool to empower your nurses and help them feel valued.

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2. Instability in work arrangements.

Nursing is inherently a stressful job. Often working long hours in critical care situations can take a toll on anyone. But for nurses, in particular, unstable work arrangements can wreak havoc. When working in such a high-pressure job, stability and open communication are integral to keeping some modicum of predictability.

But in understaffed or stressed nursing workforces, mandatory overtime, and “floating” between departments can leave even the most stable nurse feeling frazzled. Certainly, retaining your current staff and hiring new nurses for a well-staffed nursing workforce is critical. When that’s the case, offering flexible scheduling that at least offers some semblance of work/life balance is likely to be appreciated by your nurses.

Nurses understand what is expected and required of them to keep patients safe and healthy. They treat patients with the utmost in care and empathy. But when their employers take the time and consideration to undercut even a sliver of the inherent stress and show that they are committed to creating the best possible environment for their nurses, their nurses respond.

3. Too much time on paperwork.

This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway your nurses are busy! After spending their shifts caring for patients, most nurses are required to spend a significant amount of time (sometimes requiring them to stay after their shifts are over) to complete paperwork. Despite technological advances that simplify a great deal of paperwork for nurses and other medical professionals, most nurses are still slogging through piles of papers at the end of each day. And it’s stressing them out!

On top of medical paperwork, there’s administrative paperwork, HR paperwork...let’s just say a LOT of paperwork for nurses. Paperwork is a frustrating, time-consuming task that burns out nurses and leaves them searching for greener pastures. With employee engagement platforms and other technologies, piles of paperwork can be lessened or even eradicated.

Keep Your Nurses Where They Belong – Caring for Your Patients!

With hubEngage, you can nurture your nurse relationships with powerful, two-way communication. They can access and update information when it’s convenient for them. Empower them with information and tools to better care for patients, while nurturing a positive culture that makes them feel valued. Schedule a demo to see firsthand how hubEngage can transform your hospital or health care organization. 

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1 https://bhw.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/bhw/nchwa/projections/NCHWA_HRSA_Nursing_Report.pdf

2 https://rnnetwork.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Modern-Physician-Survey-Final.pdf

3 https://nurse.org/articles/how-to-deal-with-nurse-bullying/



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