April 9, 2024

Nurses who left profession cite poor working conditions as primary driver

Editor's Note

Poor working conditions are driving many nurses to leave the profession, according to a new study from University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR). The findings were published in JAMA Network Open on April 9. 

While previous studies have looked at nurses’ intentions for leaving healthcare, this is reportedly one of the first to examine the motivations of nurses who actually left the profession. The study included 7,887 registered nurses in New York and Illinois between 2018 and 2021 who left nursing. After retirements, nurses cited poor working conditions, including insufficient staffing, burnout, and poor work-life balance, as their primary reasons for leaving. For those nurses who did retire, only 59% of those surveyed said their retirement was planned. 

These findings echo recent revelations about the negative impact of burnout and low staffing on the nursing workforce. Authors say that possible solutions include increasing flexibility, including shorter shift options, increasing nurse pay for weekends and holidays, and providing support services such as on-site daycares. 

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