Nurses Who Don’t Want to Nurse

It seems that more and more nurses do not want to nurse, choosing instead to work outside of the profession they worked so hard to get into in the first place. The most commonly reported reasons for nurses jumping out of their scrubs and into business attire range from personal reasons to dissatisfaction with the nursing workplace.

According to a 2008 study "Nurses Working Outside of Nursing," 4.2 percent of the 2.9 million registered nurses in the United States were working in non-nursing employment and 12.1 percent were not working at all. Issues related to job satisfaction seemed to influence nurses’ decisions to quit their jobs, with more than 27 percent crediting stressful work environment or nurse burnout, while another 27 percent said it was the physical demands. Twenty percent said it was inadequate staffing in hospitals, and 20 percent claimed that inconvenient scheduling was the reason they quit. Many people also quit working in the field of nursing for personal reasons. Home and family obligations were the cause given by 38.4 percent, and 44.6 percent said they left their jobs in favor of retirement.

Not all nurses are dissatisfied with their jobs, and even those currently not working in a nursing position may have plans to return. In a 2008 survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services entitled "The Registered Nurse Population: Initial Findings from the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses," nurses were asked how satisfied they were with their primary jobs. When it came to their current nursing position, 29.3 percent of registered nurses reported being "extremely satisfied," 51.8 percent said they were "moderately satisfied," and only 11.1 percent were "dissatisfied." Of those employed in nursing positions, a little over half, 54.5 percent, said they had no intention of leaving their job within the next three years, while 29.8 percent said that they either had intentions of leaving their jobs within the next three years or had already done so. Among participants in the survey who were not currently employed in a nursing position, 16.4 percent had plans to return to the occupation in the future. Out of those, 4.9 percent were looking for a nursing job, 70.2 percent planned to return to nursing within two years, and 91.6 percent planned on returning in five years. More than the majority, 67.7 percent, of nurses not working in nursing did not intend on returning to the field or were undecided about their plans regarding their nursing careers.

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