Why Do Nurses Quit Their Jobs?

September 23, 2021
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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If you’re working as a nurse, then you see firsthand that there is a nursing shortage — both nationally and worldwide. While this shortage has been long in coming as the population of people needing care exceeds those that are in the workforce, another problem arises: nurses are beginning to leave the field of their own accord. Why is this happening? And, what options are available for nurses?

The 8 Most Common Reasons Nurses Quit Their Jobs

1. Nurses Need Support

Whether it’s from their immediate supervisor or from the organization as a whole, nurses need support from leadership to be able to do their job. From training to everyday job tasks, a supportive leadership team can turn a stressful job into an enjoyable one.

2. Workplaces Lack Company Culture

Company culture isn’t just desirable for your patients, it also impacts the happiness of everyone on the payroll. Toxic work culture can turn good nurses away and send them straight to your competitor — or worse, to an entirely different field. Good company culture offers:

  • Support
  • Values that align with your employees and patients
  • Clear goals
  • A patient-centered approach

3. Too Much Bureaucracy

As a nurse, you juggle a thousand different tasks throughout your day — from caring for patients and remembering different dosages of medications to filling out charts for the next shift. An organization that hides its processes behind a pile of paperwork is not just telling new nurses that they’re behind on the times, but it’s sending their current workforce out the door. Advances in technology allow many of these processes to be streamlined in a way that works better for patients and nurses alike.

4. Nurses Are Burnt Out

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that pouring from an empty cup will not work. When nurses aren’t given the opportunity to relax, destress, and give back to themselves, they get burnt out. Nurse burnout affects your mood, ability to perform, and mental health. Organizations that provide nurses with tools and resources to combat the reasons behind burnout have happier and healthier employees.

5. Troubles With Staffing

While this may seem like a given with a nursing shortage, trouble filling nursing gaps not only hurts your patients but it adds stress to the rest of your workforce. Nurses are typically the first to fill those gaps by picking up extra shifts and going above and beyond their roles. While this is appreciated, it’s not a long-term solution. Retention can help minimize those gaps while you proactively look for additional help.

6. Better Pay & Benefits

While a high salary isn’t everything, a competitive salary with benefits can be everything you need and more. To fill gaps, some organizations may offer exceedingly high salaries, but these positions are usually temporary and incredibly stressful. To prevent nurses from moving on when the funds dry up, it’s better for organizations to offer a competitive salary, benefits, and invest in growth — through training programs or resources.

7. Work Is Too Stressful

Nursing is stressful. It can’t be overstated. But, it doesn’t have to be. Working in a hospital isn’t the only available position for nurses. From administration and school nursing to home health care, there are various positions that offer different paces and responsibilities for nurses. This means you don’t have to give up working with patients to find a role you truly feel comfortable in.

8. Nurses Don’t Feel Safe

Lack of supplies — especially PPE — can turn a risky situation into a dangerous one. Many nurses are increasingly feeling unsafe at work, which adds to their stress and is a major contributing factor to burnout. Organizations that can offer a safe environment to their nurses and employees have a better chance to retain their talent. You can’t provide good care to your patients if you aren’t providing good care to your nurses.

Nurse Career Alternatives

If you’re considering quitting your job or leaving the field entirely, first consider the reasons you want to leave. If you love what you do, but you’re just feeling too stressed or at risk doing it, then there are other options. There are tons of less stressful nursing jobs available, including home health care. Home health care allows you to connect with your patients one-on-one and become part of their families. The pace is considerably less hectic than those of hospital or ER settings, but you’ll still have the support you need to do your job.

Join the Care Options For Kids Team!

Are you ready for meaningful work that comes with benefits and not burnout? Join the compassionate care team that helps children and families live their best lives. Our clinicians provide best-in-class pediatric nursing, therapy, and school-based services. We bring individualized care to children where they live, work, and play. We have opportunities in homes, schools, and clinics across the country.

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