Traumatized and tired, nurses are quitting in droves due to the stress brought on by the pandemic. Although America’s nurses have been voted the country’s most trusted professionals for the past 20 years, for the past year they have endured long hours, a lack of equipment, canceled paid time off, and threats to their personal safety.
CNN interviewed several nurses about why they quit their hospital jobs. From unsupportive workplaces, to overwhelming stress, to the fear of bringing Covid-19 home to their families. The choice was difficult, but clear.
And they are not alone. A nurse’s association survey from December found that 27% of respondents disagreed with the statement that their employers valued their physical health and safety. And 31% of nurses disagreed with the statement that their employers cared about their mental health.
However, according to CNN, it wasn’t unusual for U.S. nurses to consider quitting even before the pandemic. Close to 500,000 registered nurses quit their jobs in 2017. More than 30% of them said they left because of burnout, citing stressful work environments, a lack of support from hospital management, and inadequate staffing – issues that managers could have addressed, but chose not to.
Jill, What Can I Do? Although this blog focuses on nurses in healthcare, the lessons learned can be applied in any industry. Managers and leaders must keep their finger on the pulse of how employees feel, what they are happy about, and what is causing them to disengage. Then, management must be open and honest about the trouble spots, and strategically address them head on. They can gather data via a Survey or Focus Groups. The data measurement instrument does not matter. What matters is that leaders take their heads out of the sand. And get in touch with their most valuable asset – employees.