More Nurses Are Sick of Their Jobs

Nurses Now that the recovery is in full, albeit anemic, swing, workers are no longer so inclined to stay put in the jobs they don't like. Among registered nurses, for example, about one-quarter of those surveyed say that they've had it with their current employers, and will seek a new position as the economy recovers. That's up sharply from the 15 percent who said the same thing last year.

That's according to the "2011 Survey of Registered Nurses: Job Satisfaction and Career Plans," conducted by AMN Healthcare. The survey was meant to find out how RNs may alter their career plans due to the recovery, and found that a large number of nurses are not happy with their profession, or their specific jobs.

"Our survey clearly indicates a significant job satisfaction decline from 2010 to 2011, and that seems to be driving nurses' desire for change," said Ralph Henderson, AMN Healthcare's Nursing and Allied Division president. "If nurses change jobs in large numbers -- as they say they will in our survey -- that may increase nurse vacancy, thus putting stress on staffing resources. That, in turn, would impact patient care outcomes."

When asked if they were happy with their choice to pursue a career in nursing, 74 percent indicated that they were. But only 58 percent said that they were happy in their current job. This figure is down from 66 percent in the 2010.

The survey also showed that 32 percent of nurses plan to take steps in the next one to three years that would take them out of nursing altogether (by retiring or seeking non-nursing jobs) or by reducing the volume of clinical work that they do (by switching to part-time or less-demanding roles). This is up from the 26 percent who said in the 2010 survey that they would take those steps.

What's more, close to half (43 percent) said that they were not eager to recommend nursing as a career to young people. That is up significantly from the 36 percent who said that in 2010. Then there are the 44 percent who said that they would probably not select nursing as a career if they had it to do it over.

While more than half of all RNs say that they're fine with their current job, the amount of discontent in the profession is surprising. Many thought that health care professionals, especially nurses, were recession-proof, and were therefore much happier in their jobs than so many others. The survey is yet another indication that the recession has taken its toll on everyone.

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John and Steve

For over 40 years I have worked in healthcare. I started with my AAS then BSN, MSN, became a Family Nurse Practitioner and completed my PhD in Behavioral Psychology. My travels have taken me from bedside to clinics, rural nursing, teaching, and even counseling. Has much changed over the years? Not really. For many years it wasn't the paycheck or the benefits that mattered most, but the satisfaction in knowing I was making a difference. What I have witnessed is a continued abuse of the healthcare system (cough, cold 2 days make me better NOW).

May 09 2013 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The reason why is because corporate America is coming to the bedside. Management wants us to say key words to ensure greater survey scores, in turn, leading to more money. All of this psycho-babble takes the focus off of the patient and places it on the institution. Funny, I believe patient satisfaction was greater before all of this nonsense.

July 07 2011 at 8:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

of course nurses are becoming more dissatisfied with their work. When they are treated like crap, exposed to god knows what, forced to take flu shots to keep their jobs(they dont even work) and forced to have 12 hour shifts all while fighting union stripping legislation? No wonder they wanna get out!

July 06 2011 at 10:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I've read that there's a shortage of nurses and that it's going to get worse. Couldn't you use that as leverage for better pay, working conditions, etc.? Curious in Mississippi.

July 06 2011 at 8:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's not only in the hospitals that nurses are treated poorly. I decided after years in NICU and PICU to slow the pace and spend more time with my children and became a school nurse. Now I'm responsible for over 700 students. My nursing skills have not deteriorated, I"ve done caths, trachs, g-tubes etc. in the school setting. In addition to office visits, screenings, immunizations etc. The charting is unbelievable. I have 2 different computer programs to document in and I still have to document some things manually too. I'm tired. If I leave work on time I end up taking work home or I can stay late without compensation, I'm on salary.

July 06 2011 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sadly, this is not surprising news for this (25 years working) staff RN...Can't even imagine how I will endure another 17 years to make retirement, let alone, physically survive it without some kind of disabling injury! Back-breaking, demoralizing, unappreciated work! Guess I might be a tad bitter considering that I just received a call into the supervisor's office to be reprimanded by my unprofessional behaviour by expecting my perfectly capable total knee rehab patient to pour her own water from her pitcher into her cup! Bad nurse, bad!

July 06 2011 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As a nurse we have the chance to help people get over terrible injury and illness. The successes feel great, especially when infrequently gratitude is expressed by patients and/or families. Nursing is also one of the few occupations (along with pro-wrestling) where it viewed by those receiving care to assault both physically and verbally those providing the service to them. (It's OK because it's the just the drugs or illness talking). Then there is routine exposure to unknown pathogens (your patient from last week was just diagnosed with Meningitis, please go to the pharmacy for your antibiotics). How many of the patients feeling degraded by catheter placement or soiled bed cleanup realize it's not exactly one of our favorite activities either? BUT - one of the beautiful things about being a nurse is you can vote with your feet. If you don't like what you are doing in a hospital, go work in a clinic, do home health, teach nursing school, or even go into management and spread the love! (Kidding!) I'm glad I'm a nurse. I'll take the degradation, abuse, and exposure to who-knows-what because I know what I'm doing is important, and really does change peoples lives for the better, whether they appreciate it or not!
(PS-Make me better, but don't do anything that hurts, tastes bad, or disrupts my sleep!!!)

July 06 2011 at 7:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With investors and equity companies buying hospitals making them for profit patients and employees mean less than profits as they cut corners and understaff They force nurses and others to work longer hours but continue to push to break unions and cut benefits with the help of republican governors taking away collective bargaining.

July 06 2011 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

thanks for the open borders letting all those in putting a strain on the system

in addition, how can they help those who do not speak or even understand our language

i have many friends that have daughers that are going to school now to become
nurses.. i really do feel sorry for them, when ther only concern is to help those who
need service,
god help them.
ther salaries and benefits are not anyway near a real wage to support the cost of schooling
and training..

July 06 2011 at 7:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

For a long time I wanted to become a nurse and even did all of the pre-reqs and started working as a CNA to have the hospital experience. However teh longer I have worked as a CNA the less i want to become an RN. The work is increasingly physically draining. The hospitals are horrifically understaffed, just the other day I was responsible for 19 patients on my own. Granted I dont have to pass meds but I do have to do patient care that includes all hygiene assistance, all toileting needs, all food requests and on top of that i need to find time to chart and squeeze in a break here and there. Its impossible to imagine ever being happy taking on the amount of charting that I know the RNs have to do as well.

July 06 2011 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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