CentraState Blog

Why Do Hospital Nurses Leave Their Jobs?

Turnover rates in hospitals are higher than ever across the board, from senior executives to physicians and nurses to administrative staff. A recent survey from Leaders for Today found that 66 percent of respondents had been with their current hospital for fewer than five years, while 43 percent had been with their current hospital for fewer than two years. 37 percent plan to leave within two years.

The turnover rate for registered nurses is also on the rise, increasing 35 percent from 2011 to 2015, according to the 2016 National Healthcare Retention and RN Staffing Report from NSI Nursing Solutions. Although a portion of this turnover can be attributed to retiring nurses, some industry experts estimate that up to 30 to 50 percent of nurses quit their job or leave the nursing profession altogether within their first year. A 2017 survey from RNnetwork found that half of all surveyed nurses have considered leaving the nursing profession.

Why is the turnover rate for hospital nurses so high?

According to the RNnetwork survey, the biggest reason why nurses want to leave is the feeling of being overworked (27 percent). Nursing can be physically and emotionally stressful. 12-hour shifts are common. Hospitals don’t close on weekends and holidays or late at night. Many new nurses work extra shifts and burn out, while many hospitals operate with bare minimum staffing levels. 46 percent of nurses said they work more hours today than they did two years ago.

16 percent of nurses say they don’t enjoy the job, which is often the result of a feeling of disrespect. 65 percent of nurses feel respected by physicians, compared to just 46 percent for administrators. Bullying and harassment by other nurses (45 percent), managers or administrators (41 percent), and physicians (38 percent) happen far too often. More than half (52 percent) of nurses who were bullied and harassed considered leaving nursing.

Other top reasons for high turnover in nursing include too much time spent on paperwork and electronic health records (15 percent) and lack of patient time (12 percent).

What can you do as a nurse to find a position that satisfies you?

A job interview is an opportunity for both the employer and the applicant to determine whether there’s a good fit in terms of compensation, culture and work environment.

Ask about shift length, flexible schedules, expectations and staffing levels. Many nurses will never turn down an extra shift because they’re afraid of being perceived as lazy. Do they have mandatory overtime? Are nurses forced to float? How much time is spent on data entry and other administrative tasks?

No employee at any workplace in any industry should tolerate abuse of any kind. Ask the recruiter if the hospital has a documented policy for bullying, harassment and abuse, as well as a formal process for reporting this activity.

Find out about the hospital’s onboarding and training process and see if they have a mentor program. Ask about continuing education and opportunities for advancement in terms of both position/title and compensation.

Turnover in nursing is still high for a variety of reasons, but there are plenty of hospitals that truly respect and value their nurses and provide a nurturing, rewarding work environment. CentraState understands what you want from an employer. Genuine compassion and integrity. A sense of community. A supportive, family-friendly approach that supports for work/life balance.

For these and other reasons, CentraState is Magnet Recognized by the American Nurses Association and has been voted one of the Top 20 Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine. Contact us to learn more about nursing positions at CentraState.

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