Stop me if I’ve said this: nurses who aren’t satisfied leave

Actually, just go on and let me talk. 

Day 4 of orientation and I’m still processing my feelings about day 2. Day 1 or 2 tends to be the day upper management and administration speaks so you know what was discussed as per the last post. 

Anyway, one thing I got stuck on was JOB OWNERSHIP. 

My loose definition of that is a sense of pride that comes from doing what you do, feeling valued enough in it, that you remain and are retained and produce out of your satisfaction with your work. You promote your business as though you’re the CEO and draw outsiders in because of your love. 

Fancy terms thrown around here are attrition, retention, and recruitment. You hear these terms in hospitals, colleges, big business. Everywhere that numbers play a huge role in the health (and wealth) of an institution. 

So why do people leave? Why do specialized, skilled individuals who went to school specifically to help people leave? It all starts with job satisfaction.

To save myself and you the extra read, check out this article on Why Employees Quit. Go on, I’ll wait. 

That says everything I’d say anyway, but I want to put some emphasis on value. I’ve worked so many jobs and I always think about why I’ve left them. It comes down to value.  My first year out of school I had few coworkers who cared if I sank or swam on a shift. By the subsequent years on OB, I found a family I loved working with, but wasn’t satisfied anymore just working the floor, school followed, and then I started teaching. I left because I felt under appreciated by administration. Yea, the students drove me nuts, but no support and no push to be more burned me out. 

So now I travel and I’ve learned to detect staff dissatisfaction quick. Some of it’s selfish because dissatisfied employees will make terrible coworkers. 

Let me say it again: people who hate their job will not be good team players. 

I don’t have time for that mess so I try creating as much camaraderie as I can. Help me and I’ll help you. But that’s just my own thing. 

They complain about staffing. That the manager won’t come in. What do I hear? No one cares if we put our lives or licenses or patients’ lives in jeopardy. Inadequate staffing sends a message. 

They complain they aren’t valued for their skills. They hear things like “we can train a monkey to do your job.” Comments about people being replaceable send a message. We don’t care about you in your current position. 

Soapbox: First, nursing is a skilled profession and second we suffer from a shortage. You take me with nearly a decade of experience who can hit the ground running or the new grad you have to train. Or you get no one. Pick. But stop treating me as though I’m expendable when I’m not. 

You can tell the satisfaction by the rate of turnover. If you’re losing 14 people in a month and replacing them with 8 you have to train from the beginning, you’re losing. You want to know how you lose? By being forced to spend more money to recruit. Bonuses get people but don’t keep people. You’re also losing knowledge base. It’s your seasoned nurses who leave, leaving brand new nurses with no one to raise them up. 

I could go on, but I won’t. Shoot, I’m not even scratching the surface of what goes into keeping people. Know that employee value is important. Caring about your employees above patient satisfaction is important. If your employees know you care, they will go above and beyond for you. If not, they leave and you’re left with no one to run your business. 

Again, you are valuable. 

Travel on, road warrior. 


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