5 Reasons Nurses Want to Leave Your Hospital

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , August 9, 2011

Your nurses have one eye on the door if you do any of the following.

Although economic woes abound, nurses are planning their exit strategies and will make a move when things improve. A recent survey from healthcare recruiters AMN Healthcare found that one-quarter of the 1,002 registered nurses surveyed say they will look for a new place to work as the economy recovers.

Are your nurses engaged, committed employees? Or are they biding their time until they can go somewhere better? To predict whether you face an exodus, take a look at the following five reasons why your nurses want out.

1. Mandatory overtime

Nurses work 12-hour shifts that always end up longer than 12 hours due to paperwork and proper handoffs. At the end, they are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Forcing them to stay longer is as bad for morale as it is for patient safety.

Some overtime is acceptable. People get sick, take vacations, or have unexpected car trouble and holes in the shift must be filled to ensure safe staffing. Nurses are used to picking up the slack, taking overtime, and pitching in. In fact, overtime is an expected and appreciated part of being a nurse. Many use it to help make ends meet. Mandatory overtime, however, is a different matter. Routinely understaffed units that rely on mandatory overtime as the only way to provide safe patient care destroy motivation and morale.

Take a look at the last couple of years' news stories about RN picket lines. Most include complaints about mandatory overtime.

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26 comments on "5 Reasons Nurses Want to Leave Your Hospital"


nursesally (7/5/2015 at 6:06 AM)
nursing by far has one of the most toxic and bullying environment. The environment should be one of fostering team work, collaboration, coordination and working together to take care of sick patients and their families. However, it is anything but.

door1967 (10/25/2013 at 2:42 PM)
17 years nursing and met some fantastic nurses and patients. For me the job just is not what I came into, however I believe that is the case for many. I can accept long hours and late of shift, but not the toxic culture. I feel I am top of my game at time management and still have no time to actually spend time with a patient. I see all these ward statements which are no more than paper. If you cannot sit with a dying patient or just chat then what is nursing really worth. A few nurses, doctors have commented commented I am very good at my job. Their definition of good did not include comfort, caring, having a little fun, sharing your day. I have decided to become a HCA and give up my pin. Maybe I want to be carer and not a nurse as the role has changed from what I loved. It was never a perfect job and there has always been bullies and stress, but somehow being allowed to give something of yourself made it ok. Truth is I don't get anything from nursing and find so toxic which I am sad to say. I think when I heard one nurse call another for chatting to a patient who was upset stating they should be working. I don't blame anyone, as it is what it is. I do believe in my opinion something so fundamental has been lost.

Elaine Kinsey (11/18/2011 at 3:01 PM)
My comment is to those who do not make the grade. All RNs have had minimum scores for exams and those that do not pass are out of the program, period. A 73 score or even a 80% informs me that only 73%- 80% of the time you knew what to do for a patient. This is unacceptable in school and is unacceptable to me as a Director of an ICU. My advice, is to go through the program again and not give up so easily.

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