Where have all the nurses gone?


According to a new study by the Florida Center for Nursing, nurse attrition is a real problem. Florida gained 27, 000 Registered Nurses over the past two years — but lost over 16,000 RNs in that time, for a net gain of only 11,000. LPN losses were even worse.
Nurses who leave the profession contribute to the looming nursing shortage, while the nurse shortage continues to drive nurses out of the professon.  With fewer nurses on staff, the remaining nurses often feel overworked and overburdened,  a combination that causes many nurses to call it quits.  When researchers asked over 600 nurses why they left their first job before their second year, thirty-seven percent of nurses cited stressful working conditions.  Thirteen percent reported episodes of mandatory overtime.

While some nurses move on to other nursing positions, some step outside of nursing all together. According to one poll by the American Nurses Association, nearly 20% of licensed nurses are not working in  clinical nursing at all. Their absence affects all remaining nurses, but few nurses or administrators seem to know how to stem the exodus. Do you have any ideas?

Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN
Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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