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Nurses on What Made Them Want to Quit and Why They Decided to Stay


The healthcare industry can be a brutal place to work. Long hours, stressful working conditions, and constant grief would be enough to make anyone consider quitting. A recent survey shows that around a third of U.S. nurses plan on quitting their jobs at the end of 2022, which would leave thousands of medical facilities and millions of patients without the care and support they need.

We asked millions of nurses if they have ever thought about quitting and what made them decide to stay. And the results sounded all too familiar.

I wanted to quit but had to pay bills, and it’s hard to find another job. They wouldn’t hire you out of your profession, so you’re stuck.


I never wanted to quit the profession, but I left a bunch of jobs, mainly because of bad leadership.


The only reason I’m staying is because after almost 20 years of nursing, I could never find a comparable paying job in another field. If I could, I’d leave healthcare in a minute.


The only reason I stay is because I feel called to do the work I do, and I love the work. I hate the politics, floating, corporate BS, and public problems. I stay for the love of my patients.


I left the hospital 8 months ago, and while I miss my coworkers like crazy, I don’t miss the hospital at all. The bureaucratic BS was unreal, the staffing was seriously unsafe, and we were all burning out. I’m an RN case manager doing home hospice now, and I love it. And it lets me do my favorite part of my job: build relationships with my patients.

Often the actual nursing is only a small part of my job, and the rest of it is getting to know my patients and their families and building that relationship. That’s why I love nursing.


Over 30 years in nursing and over the last 20 years, I have thought of quitting every day. The job is no longer what it used to be. No time to give basic nursing care for doing all junior doctors roles for no more money. Nursing is also full of bullies and the minute you try and stand up for yourself, it’s you that’s the problem. You then soon lose your job for standing up for what’s right!! Just trying to make it to retirement.


I’m a new nurse, but I only spent about a year in the field before taking a break. I went to nursing school during the pandemic and I feel like I didn’t get the best clinical experience because of it. I wish I knew what nursing was truly going to be like before I decided to go into the field. 

I spent three months working in the hospital and it was a nightmare. I’m using this break to figure out what I truly want to do with my nursing career. It sucks being a new nurse right now.


Nursing is a great profession, but it is hard because you love your patients and their families and sometimes take their problems home with you that causes stress. I worked 35 years as a nurse and have never regretted this profession, because I was called to be a nurse. I retired to take care of my precious sister who lived with me and my husband for 26 years. I worked the night shift so I could take care of her, so yes, I was burned out with nursing around the clock.

So, when a nurse takes care of your family member, tell them what a good job they did, it will make their day, I know because I have been there.


I will be working my last shift tonight. 40 years of bedside nursing has burned me out. The last few years have been verging on unbearable. Short staffing, verbal, and physical abuse from patients almost on a daily basis.


About 10 years ago, I was a school nurse in a high school. There was a group of girls that would come into my office who were just nasty and liked to show off for each other trying to mock me. I thought I was well past the stage of having to be the target of the mean high school girls. I was evaluating my life choices.

Later that same day, I was called outside because a student fell on the way to the bus. I ran out and saw that this kid was blue. He needed CPR. I dove right in as everyone else backed away like a water drop in oil. I forgot about those mean girls because I knew that’s where I was supposed to be. The kid made it and I am still at the same school.


I have wanted to quit for the last 10 years. I’m burned out and tired after 40 years of nursing. I didn’t quit because it’s all I know, and I have to eat and have a place to live. If I had been a cop or a fireman, I’d have two full pensions by now.


I wanted to quit. I took early retirement instead. I had no intention of going back for more torture and abuse!


I stay because I love the elderly. It’s not nursing that makes us want to quit. It’s the government telling us what to do, corporates telling us it’s ok to work short staffed, or having to pick up the duties of every other department! 😡


After 47 years of nursing, I have never wanted to quit more than I do now. I’m sick of hearing “it’s not my job to…” Well, it’s not my job either, but if we don’t go the extra mile, what will become of those we’re supposed to care for? Nursing seems to no longer be the caring profession it once was. Thank God I have caring friends in the field that I hope will watch over me if I’m ever ill.


I think about quitting every single day 🤣. Here are the reasons I stay:

I work with the best damn staff EVER (they are family).

I take care of patients the way I want my family treated.

Occasionally, you get that extremely appreciative patient or family.

You make someone with no hope smile.

Because only special people can do this profession!!!!

To all the nurses out there, you’re important, you make a difference, and you are special, so keep doing what you’re doing. 💙 You may save 1 life or 100 in your career, that’s incredible! Don’t ever forget that!


I have wanted to quit at least 100 times over the past 24 years. I stay because it’s the only thing I know how to do. I feel like I’m too old to start over.


I love my job and my coworkers. It’s the patients that make me consider quitting. I’ve never seen more self-entitlement and narcissism than I have in the past year. The dynamic has definitely changed for the worst post COVID-19.


I quit nursing. I have no plans to go back to it any time soon! I was so stressed out, I’d wake up stressed, have panic attacks before going to work, go to sleep stressed. The constant short staffing, the increasing demands, the lack of help from management, the abuse, the harassment from other staff, the shift work, it really damaged my mental health. Now I’m working as a hospital admin and loving it!


These responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Steven Briggs
Steven Briggs is a healthcare writer for Scrubs Magazine, hailing from Brooklyn, NY. With both of his parents working in the healthcare industry, Steven writes about the various issues and concerns facing the industry today.

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