Why Do Nurses Quit Their Jobs?

Why Do Nurses Quit Their Jobs

For many nurses, having a job as a caregiver is more like a calling than simply a career. However, that doesn’t mean nurses are always tied down to one job forever. As one of the most in-demand jobs in the US, nurses often have many options when it comes to where to work, and if a place isn’t working out, it doesn’t take much nudging to look for greener pastures. But what are the most common reasons nurses leave their jobs? And is there anything you can do to keep your best talent?

The 6 Most Common Reasons Nurses Quit Their Jobs

1. Burnout

Nursing has never been an easy profession, and providing quality care for patients along with various non-clinical tasks can quickly become stressful. With the onslaught of global health crises, like COVID-19, matters have only gotten worse for many healthcare professionals as they face long hours, staffing shortages, health risks, and more. In fact, nearly a third of nurses who left their jobs in 2019 cited burnout as a primary cause. That number doesn’t even consider how many nurses are experiencing burnout while remaining at their current job.

Read8 Ways to Prevent Nurse Burnout

2. Poor Pay / Benefits

While nursing is regarded as a selfless career, that doesn’t mean nurses aren’t concerned about how they’re compensated. In fact, better pay and/or benefits is the number one reason nurses leave their jobs. The work is difficult and frequently exhausting, so if other employers are offering better pay/benefits, it’s certainly going to affect your ability to retain quality nursing talent. Additionally, it’s often easier for nurses to get paid more by taking a job with a new employer than to receive competitive raises over time working at the same place. While it may seem advantageous to employers to keep salaries and raises at a minimum, you must also consider the cost of nurse turnover vs retention.

3. Lack of Career Growth

Similar to poor pay, nurses may look for another job when they feel stuck in their current place in the organizational hierarchy. Advancing in a nursing career requires experience in clinical hours as well as additional training and education. If their current employer is not offering paths for growth — and the time/resources to achieve those goals — there’s a good chance you’ll lose your best nursing talent once they feel like they’ve peaked in their current role.

4. Bad Culture/Work Environment

While much ink has been spilled on the importance of patient experience in the world of healthcare, employee experience is just as vital for a thriving organization. A stressful work environment, or one in which nurse safety and wellbeing is not prioritized, is a recipe for attrition in the workforce. A study by the JAMA Network reports that 34% of nurses who quit their jobs did so because of a stressful workplace.

5. Poor Management

The same JAMA Network study found that an equal percentage of nurses left their jobs from poor management as from an overly stressful workplace (34%). Management factors that contribute to this include:

  • Inadequate staffing
  • Inability to delegate tasks appropriately
  • Not getting nurse buy-in for important decisions
  • Cost-cutting that negatively affects nursing experience
  • Overworking nurses and/or assigning them tasks outside of their responsibilities

6. Understaffing

Inadequate staffing can cause a domino effect of negative outcomes, from a decrease in quality of care, to rising anxiety among caregivers, and ultimately, to caregiver burnout. While the healthcare workforce in the US continues to face an overall nursing shortage, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing organizations can do about it. Rolling out enticing benefits packages and creative recruitment strategies can be a gamechanger in your organization’s nurse acquisition and retention efforts. After all, many nurses who are quitting their jobs are looking for better opportunities — why not be the place they want to land?

Need a nurse recruitment strategy that works? Try Caregiver Connect today.

We know how difficult it can be to find the right talent for your healthcare organization. That’s why we leverage our proprietary communications solutions to help you recruit smarter. By evaluating your entire hiring journey, we find new opportunities to delight your candidates and stand out from your competition. If you’re ready for a recruitment strategy that actually works, contact our team today.