nurse quits job

Why Do Nurses Quit Nursing?

nurse quits jobThere are any number of reasons why a nurse may leave her profession after putting in years of schooling and work.
The majority of nurses continue on and enjoy their professions, but for some, things happen in life that change their decision to remain in nursing. For those, they often just continue on while hating their job, or they quit the profession all together. Let’s take a look at some reasons and causes why nurses may leave their profession.
Hours: Most nurses work eight, ten, or twelve hour shifts, but there are those whose specific position requires more hours from them. Some even have to work night shifts. An operating room nurse for example may have been assisting in surgery for most of his or her shift when an emergency case arrives in need of immediate surgery and if that patient has complex injuries, the nurse may wind up working several hours past their scheduled quitting time, which happens quite often, especially if their relief is late or calls in for some reason. The same can be said for floor nurses. If their relief is late or calls in sick and there is no replacement for them, they may often wind up having to work a double shift or part of a double shift to cover for their absent coworker. This is especially true in the ICU where a nurse has to be on duty at all times. ICU Nurses are advance care nurses with specialized training specific to their position in the ICU and therefore his or her relief needs to be qualified to relieve them at the end of their shift.

Pay: Some nurse positions have a low starting pay depending on a variety of reasons and after years of college, and may decide that they made a bad choice and leave to pursue other career opportunities. But this is most often not the case with Registered Nurses as most make a fairly decent salary and continue on to have successful careers. Most hospitals have a continuing education benefit which pays a large part or in some cases all of a nurse’s continuing education class allowing them to better themselves and move up in the profession and move up on the pay scale as well. In many cases nurses incur large debt for their college tuition and if they wind up in a position where they are unable to pay their current bills and student loans because of a lower than average starting pay they may decide to pursue another career path that requires the person to have a college degree, but pays much better than what they were making as an entry level nurse.

Stress: There are quite a few areas in nursing that are high stress environments. Some nurses in these high stress positions wind up not being able to handle the toll of these high stress positions after a time. The emergency room is often times a very high stress environment while at other times it is very slow and complete boredom sets in for the staff, which can lead to an emotional roller coaster for some. Stress is not just confined to the work place. Stress can come from home as well, whether it be martial issues, sick children, or other issues at home, these off the job issues coupled with on the job stress can lead to a nurse making the decision to find another career. Stress can also come in the form of a poor working environment. If a nurse finds themselves having to work with a coworker, or in rare cases, multiple coworkers who are not easy to get along with for whatever reason, this will eventually take its toll and lead to added stress. These stresses mentioned so far are all categorically emotional and although most nurses handle it very well, for some, it is just too much to handle. The emotional and physical demands of a nurse are very tough and although many WANT to be a nurse, not everyone is cut out to be a nurse. It takes a very special breed of person to have the right character, mental and physical stamina to be a successful nurse.

Boredom: Some positions in nursing are what some call the same ole, same ole, routine.
In these cases where nurses perform the same tasks day in and day out where everything is generally quiet and not much to do except to check on patients every so often, the nurse may come to find this routine boring. This is especially true for those nurses whose personality is such that they thrive on a fast paced changing environment.

Medical reasons: Some nurses during the course of their career whether it be near the beginning or many years into it, may develop some type of illness or suffer some sort of injury that no longer allows them to continue in their profession. A nurse is exposed daily to all sorts of diseases and even with good preventive measures, the nurse may still become exposed to a disease that may end their career as a care giver. Some nurses may suffer personal injuries such as from a car accident, boating accident, e.t.c. and the injuries sustained may be such that the nurse is permanently disabled and therefore must retire. A personal injury can also come from on the job as well. Often times the physical demands of as nurse are such that a nurse may injure themselves on the job to the point where they are no longer able to perform their duties. Standing on your feet all day, even with great nursing shoes, can cause injuries to the feet as well.

Miscellaneous reasons: There are other various reasons why a nurse may leave his or her profession. For female nurses, some decide to get married and have children and start a family. And while there are many nurses with children, some find that they want to be a full time mother and wife and decide to leave their profession and devote themselves to raising their children.


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George Tall

Author at Hug Your Nurse
George Tall works in the legal field, is a father of three, and a husband of a RN for 25 years. He enjoys writing about everything, especially nursing! He has been writing for a living, at least partially, since around 2000. As an author on dozens of websites, he enjoys being factual, while spinning a bit of humor where possible.
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13 thoughts on “Why Do Nurses Quit Nursing?

  1. Constantia Sigmon

    I can have the most perfect shift, but then there’s that one patient… or that one family… kills me.

  2. Clarita Jaime

    Don’t make enough money? Seriously? I work my butt off all day for under $10 an hour, and you’re gonna complain making $30 or more?


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