Stop Losing Experienced Nurses

There's no substitute for experience, especially in nursing. Nurses can communicate ably with physicians and staff and are the glue that holds "multidisciplinary care" together.  But experienced nurses are aging and exiting the workforce. An ongoing project on nurse retention shows that hospitals committed to managing and developing talent are the hospitals where nurses want to work.

6 comments on "Stop Losing Experienced Nurses"
David Reece RN (11/20/2010 at 9:36 PM)

If your wondering why hospitals lose nurses take a look at the ivory tower sitters in administration that blame the bedside nurse for all there problems. If you look at the Arizona lawsuit Johnson VS AZ Hospital Association et al.A nurse sued all 110 hospitals, the AZ Hospital Association for priced fixing payola etc etc etc. After 330 testimonies a disgusting picture arose, of backroom deals, bribes and even a blacklist came out. But no articles in the local press. For nursing administrators its all about Six figure incomes with bonus pay of what was left in the budget was their bonus. So its short staffing for the greedy few. Being a RN for 35 years I have been in the ivory tower and seen how greed corrupts. The disdain and hatred towards the bedside nurse is the norm. WE HAVE NO NURSING LEADERS. WHY ARE BEDSIDE NURSES AND ONLY GENERATE A BED CHARGE FOR REVENUE. Resp Therapy gives a breathing treatment there is a charge. A EKG tech does a 12 lead EKG there is a charge. If a CV tech sets up the ICU monitor there is a charge. IF a RN does this there is no charge. The list goes on and on of skilled task we do and no charges are generated. BUT it they are done by a Physician or tech they can generate charges. DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS NO ONE TALKS ABOUT. Being treated as a substandard labor that as one hospital administrator stated in a Newspaper article. NURSE ARE THE LEACHES ON THE BACK OF HOSPITAL PROFITS. Is there a shortage of nurses. NO Nurse's are sick and tired of being blamed for everything, and feel isolated, betrayed, and being manipulated and made to feel guilty if they refuse to work when in pain and exhausted. Hospital administrators have refined the guilt trip they inflict on nurses and many of us refuse to cower down to it. The few the proud the real nurses of care and compassion and understand empathy. We are the bedside nurse's. WITHOUT EMPATHY ALL THAT IS LEFT IS EVIL. I have yet to meet a CNO that had any empathy left. David Reece RN BSN MSN PhD and I still work at the bedside because I am a Nurse.
jean holveck (11/5/2010 at 9:04 AM)

The answer is to organize. I was fortunate that a few co workers did just that in 1976. It made all the difference in my career. By approaching our hospital as a group we were able to improve working conditions and thereby improve nurse retention. We were respected. We started with PNA. We are now PASNAP. Thank you California nurses.
Debbie (11/5/2010 at 7:20 AM)

Organizations must show they value their experienced nurses in order to retain them. If a nurse is viewed as an all in one employee i.e. secretary, nurse's aide, transporter, instead of a true professional, HR thinks its better to hire a nurse (more bang for the buck) than to hire ancillary staff who can reduce the physical demands of nursing. I am 46 years old, and have been in nursing 17 years. I transitioned to a specialty unit 9 years ago as I was burned out from the manual labor of working med-surg. It was extremely frustrating to work on 30 bed units with one nurses aid.
Lynn Followell (11/4/2010 at 6:19 PM)

Its such a complicated issue. It starts with reimbursement to the hospital. Nursing care is the backbone of the hospital stay yet it is not recognized thru billing. Administrative leaders are frequently non-medical and truly do not get the importance of experienced and proficient nurses caring for the acutely ill patient. Many nurses at the bedside are inexperienced and the system/process for providing care may not provide the experienced oversight needed. Nurses cannot recognize something important if they are unaware or unfamiliar with the problem. Physicians are too busy and frequently undervalue their nursing staff. Yet, when inexperienced nurses fail to perform the MD begins to perceive this as the constant. A white paper written several years ago recommended nursing, medical, and pharmacy students have their BASIC courses together. Thus the building blocks for these key players would be the same AND they would each perceive the others' value from the beginning of schooling. Nurses must have more input into the entire process of providing care AND have an equal vote!
Victoria Caudill (10/28/2010 at 11:34 AM)

Never forget your basic concept of fair pay. I left hospital bedside nursing to become an NP when I found out accidently (as a 14 year critical care veteran) that the new grad I was mentoring was making just slightly less per hour than I was. Experienced nurses hit a glass ceiling of pay and it seems the incentive to hire new nurses at competitive pay narrows the gap a great deal. If you want to keep experienced nurses at the bedside make it worth their while.
pam (10/27/2010 at 10:42 AM)

Kudos for this article. With a shift in the average age of a nurse today, medical facilities need to be resourceful and find ways to keep their experienced nurses. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see this included in one of the Magnet hospital qualifications?


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