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July 23, 2008

Are You Ready to Quit Nursing?

Mdrelief72x721 I had a long work weekend. Patients kept on coming through the revolving doors of the Emergency Room. Hallways were filled with patients in various states of sickness and health, lying on stretchers or sitting in chairs. A few homeless individuals walked the hallways, chanting to themselves. And now, a new American Nurses Association poll has been released. Seems that many of us want to quit!

About half of the 10,000 nurses surveyed in the poll are thinking about leaving their current jobs -- because they're worried about inadequate nurse staffing levels. Those are staggering numbers -- 50% are thinking about leaving their current jobs. No wonder 1000 RNs picketed outside the Milstein Building at New York-Presbyterian for about a week in early June  as the sun beat on the hot pavement. I’m sure that staffing was a key issue.

Back to the survey results -- nearly 75% of the nurses polled by the ANA reported that staffing levels were basically insufficient. On the other hand, approximately 26% said that staffing levels were reasonable in their facilities. (I wonder where they work?)

Are you ready to quit because of staffing levels? Tell us about your staffing experiences. Are they getting better or worse? Can you suggest any solutions?

To contribute to the survey, log onto the ANA site.

July 23, 2008 in Beka | Permalink


I cried during nursing school and I'm still crying. I recently quit after 4 years. Never found the right shift, unit, or hospital. Same stress, same complaining patients, same chicken bosses. After all your hard work you are constantly threatened that you can be sued or have you license taken. Rules and policies change everyday. I feel nurses are the fall guys. Hope to become a small business owner.

Posted by: amy | Jan 30, 2012 11:45:03 AM

I have been a nurse for 18 years and have tried almost
every area...except surgery. I hate all of it!
NOT ENOUGH HELP, always short, and never a break.
No human can work like this for too long without
medication, injury, or going insane. All of my
coworkers are either getting a divorce, adding new
medications, or miserable.

I wish I had the courage to quit...but I keep hoping
that it will change. I am so tired of being a nurse!

Posted by: Pinky | Jan 22, 2012 7:22:29 PM

I entered nursing as a second career. I did not go into it for "the money" or the security but acted on a lifelong interest to work in the medical field. I graduated at the top of my class, I'm a very hard worker , and seem to be as technically competent as any nurse with my level of experience. I worked for 14 months on tele floor and then changed jobs to an intermediate care unit. Nursing is hell for a million and one reasons many of which have been cited by previous posters. The workload is backbreaking, the stress is enormous, and the support systems are pretty non-existent. I just resigned from my IMC job after encountering several instances of bullying on the part of a sociopathic nurse. It culminated in her grabbing me by the arm and physically pulling me into my manager's office to tell her I was doing something wrong, when I was doing nothing wrong. Manager did not take a stand with her and wimped out. I resigned that night (2 weeks ago) I've been a nurse for 16 months and it's been a demoralising slog. I am planning to chalk up the decision to enter nursing at 48 as an unfortunate mistake. It has been singularly unrewarding and I feel the word needs to get out to all wannabee nurses to enter this field with the greatest of caution.

Posted by: Eileen | Jan 21, 2012 2:11:50 PM

Oh God Please do not become an RN or any nurse.its horrible really. all the mean people and bedside nursing.

Posted by: Carol | Jan 4, 2012 9:05:06 PM

this is in response to Cukia, don't feel bad. I had the same thing happen to me a little over a year ago. I hate to hear you had to go through that. I was trying to reenter the hospital environment when I had that experience. When I first went into nursing I was happy in a small hospital on an LDRP unit for 5 years. Fast forward 5 years after re-locating to a large city. I wanted to go back to doing what I love so I was hired in a highly recommended large hospital. I learned quickly that I was not going to stay. There was no team work, my preceptor was inpatient and it seemed like my supervisor expected me to fail. The patient care was unsafe and everyone was out for themselves. I lasted almost 6 weeks in orientation. I decided to quit before my body did. It took me over a year to recover from that experience and it took a little of my self esteem.

Posted by: Deborah | Dec 14, 2011 9:37:33 AM

I have not worked as an RN in over a year. I have been an RN for 10 years. I wouldn't recommend it to any one. I have worked every shift you can think of and none of it is reasonable. I will never work another 14 hour shift as long as I live. The last hospital I worked at was terrible. Nurses were looking for jobs in between seeing patients. I agree with Lucille, there are too many nurses sitting at desk, most of which have never had to work 12 hour shifts, with 15 minute lunches and no bathroom breaks. I look back on nursing school now and think what time I wasted working so hard only to be burned out in 10 years time. The sad part is I still have outstanding student loans. I know too many nurses that want to quit and are making plans to do so.

Posted by: Deborah | Dec 14, 2011 9:28:08 AM

I am a second year nursing student. I was silly enough to google "thinking about quitting nursing". This site was extremely discouraging... Save for the last post - thank you! With a mother and sister as RN's, I often doubt my true commitment to nursing or whether I'm just following lead. I am in it for all sorts of reasons now, but I still have my days when I have no clue what I'm doing. I have bad days when my clinical practicum evaluation is less than I wanted. My marks typically don't have a huge effect on me. I have a 3.8 GPA and so far this term all A and A+, but when the clinical evaluations are low, that's what I care about most. I'm gonna keep going though! And will most definitely be buying that book Robyn mentioned! :) Attached a link to another website that was also really encouraging if people are looking for it!

Posted by: Kaycee | Dec 6, 2011 10:46:57 PM

I'm currently in nursing school. I just finished my second semester, and I passed all of my classes, except for one. Now, I'm set back an entire semester to graduate, and I still have 5 semesters left to get my BSN (that's if I don't fail another class, then I'll be set back an entire year). I feel like I barely eat because my stress and anxiety levels are through the roof. I cry all the time, and I really just don't think I can handle this as a career, especially if I'm stressing this much now only being a student. I always thought I wanted to be a nurse because I wanted to help people. I never considered any other career, but I wish I would have. I didn't think about what the actual nursing career entailed, and now that I've gotten some experience, I really don't know if I'll be able to handle the stress and responsibility of it all. From reading everyone's posts, I'm really second guessing my career choice even more. Anyone have advice for me? I'd like to get out, if I can, but I have no idea what else I'd want to do.

Posted by: Jordan | Dec 5, 2011 4:52:33 PM

I have not worked since March 23, 2011, after following a negligent nurse, who failed to replace a low potassium level from 5 am, I started replacement on the friggin night shift. This incompetent, butt hole left a patient in hypoglycemic shock for the better part of her shift. Hell no, I won't GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Marilyn Dziedzic | Dec 3, 2011 1:40:20 PM

Who in their right mind would want to be a RN? You cry a lot, physical and mental pain, drives you insane, mental breakdowns, such sorrow & what is pathetic is mgmt wants you to "smile". I could laugh to tears at the words or attack the idiot who dares say "smile" one more time. I have been an RN X 32 years. Hell is what nursing is and if you think your tough it will rip your heart and soul out, your tough, as time goes by you stop trying to feel, try to turn it off b/c it hurts so much. POst traumatic stress should be a known effect of Nursing, free mental health should be a benefit for nurses. Expect a million tears to be shed in your career. Welcome to nursing, you get no mercy should our trademark

Posted by: HR | Oct 17, 2011 4:38:16 AM

Thank you all for your comments. I am a second year R.N. student(Associate Degree program) ready to call it quits. I am doing quite well grade wise but I am beginning to see the writing on the wall. My poor classmates are all on drugs or look as though they are going to have a nervous breakdown....it is so sad. I almost want to stay to help them...but I must leave this sinking ship of a profession for my own sanity. We all who enter this profession want to help people. My instuctor even laughed at someone who gave that as a reason they wanted to be a nurse as if to say,"we will see how much torture you are willing to take".

Posted by: Gloria | Sep 29, 2011 5:12:33 AM

Thank you all for your comments. I am a second year R.N. student(Associate Degree program) ready to call it quits. I am doing quite well grade wise but I am beginning to see the writing on the wall. My poor classmates are all on drugs or look as though they are going to have a nervous breakdown....it is so sad. I almost want to stay to help them...but I must leave this sinking ship of a profession for my own sanity. We all who enter this profession want to help people. My instuctor even laughed at someone who gave that as a reason they wanted to be a nurse as if to say,"we will see how much torture you are willing to take".

Posted by: Gloria | Sep 29, 2011 5:12:32 AM

Thank you all for your comments. I am a second year R.N. student(Associate Degree program) ready to call it quits. I am doing quite well grade wise but I am beginning to see the writing on the wall. My poor classmates are all on drugs or look as though they are going to have a nervous breakdown....it is so sad. I almost want to stay to help them...but I must leave this sinking ship of a profession for my own sanity. We all who enter this profession want to help people. My instuctor even laughed at someone who gave that as a reason they wanted to be a nurse as if to say,"we will see how much torture you are willing to take".

Posted by: Gloria | Sep 29, 2011 5:12:32 AM

No doubt about it, the nursing profession needs a serious overhaul. In order to be considered to work in the profession, people should be tested to detect sociopathy and psychopathy. My belief from personal experience is that many administrators are sociopathic with psychopathic traits and only those nurses that can effectively function in this insanity are evolved sociopaths. They would have to be in order to survive. Nursing is has been stricken with an epidemic of staff with mental illness brought on by deplorable labor conditions that are nothing short of slavery. Nurses are grossly underpaid for the level of responsibility and dangerously overworked. It is no secret that administrators use nurses lack of equitable wages to subsidize profit margins, and big dollar wages for themselves and shareholders. It's disgusting exploitation and administrators know this. It's called the satanic code of ethics and morals of a capitalist infrastructure. The front liners do the work while the owners and administrators reap the major dividends.I can hardly wait for Armageddon... the first will be last and the last will be first. Then these power mongers who deal in inequity and essential slavery will get what they deserve and experience the drudgery of their own injustice.

Posted by: shannon peit | Jun 6, 2011 4:38:46 PM

Rebecca L. I love your comment. I agree with everything you said. I too was a nursing student and non-believer when my RN coworkers gentley tried to tell me that nursing was a poor career choice. I chose, instead, to listen to the propaganda promoting nurse managers and college advisors. What a stupid choice! I even worked as a nurses' aid for 3 years while getting my BSN and still couldn't see the issues with nursing because I didn't have the responsibility of an RN at that time. I don't regret getting my BSN, but after 3 years and 3 facilities I'm ready to quit. I'm currently doing travel nursing, which is only better because if I save my pay I can take 2 months off at a time. I get nervous and anxious every time I get a job. I'm trying to figure out what I direction I should take and how to get out of this god awful "profession". My advice is that if you want to be in medicine become a doctor or go no higher than a Certified Nurse Aid, anywhere in the middle is dangerous to your health and mentality.

Posted by: Allison W. | Jun 1, 2011 8:38:14 AM

It's so crazy that I stumbled upon this because I have also left nursing, practically before I ever started! I became a LPN and rejected my acceptance into a RN program. At first, I second guessed myself. Society is brainwashed and without even knowing a single thing about nursing, they will tell you "Nurses are in demand".."Nurses make good money"..."You're so lucky". The truth is, these people are ignorant, because a good portion of us nurses know otherwise.

I never went into nursing for the pay. I went in for the passion. But the truth of the matter is, you're conditioned to put up with a lot of abuse in nursing school. It's just not natural or normal. Nursing instructors are generally bipolar (most nurses will attest to this) and you will find out very quickly that it's an extremely violent field. As if days worrying about the life of your patients wasn't enough, you will get to deal with corrupt politics, backstabbing, cruelty, stress, understaffing, excruciating workload and pay that can't even come close to the misery you bear.

I absolutely loved my patients and I'm good at what I do. I'm not a bitter nurse, like most are and I didn't go into nursing because I wanted a quick degree and money. I simply realized that there's nothing normal about what is generally accepted in nursing. What job requires that you go without a restroom break for 6+ hours at a time because you are so busy with an excessive amount of patients, you would literally be chewed out if you went to the restroom? What job knows that the average patient ratio is 1:5 but continually gives you 8. Doesn't sound like a lot right? Wait until you're a nurse.

There's something about the overall mentality of nurses. Don't get me wrong, there are great ones, but many are the same ones who will make your life hell. I have seen it happen to other kind nurses over and over again. Of course they all started out as nursing students who thought THEY would be the exception. These nursing students thought THEY would be different and that nursing would be so different for them. Any experienced nurse that tried to tell them otherwise was rejected and shot down. This is the mentality of a nurse in the making. In complete and utter denial which quickly makes your typical bitter/miserable nurse a few years down the road.

I felt I would regret my decision to leave nursing. It's now been a year and I can say that I feel RELIEVED and don't regret it in the least bit. I work in corporate and put on a suit every morning, or a nice work dress. Is there stress and office politics in my field? Sure there is, but does it compare to nursing? You better believe your behind that it doesn't. My stress level has gone from 10 to perhaps a 4 at the MOST. I make more money than a nurse, as well. Not a lot more, but I do make more. I guess I am posting this because I want to tell nurses and pre-nursing students out there, REALLY do your research before making the mistake of getting in this field. You're NOT the exception and you can dislike what seasoned nurses tell you as much as you want. We are always right. We have been there, done that.

The vast majority of nurses that I know aren't even able to land a job at the moment. Perhaps this will change, but it's common knowledge that the hospitals in my area are receiving around 100 applications PER nursing position and all applicants are qualified or overqualified. Nursing is a slave job and people are fighting over it. I understand many older nurses don't feel like they can do much with their life at this point, but if you have a choice, really do your research on the field. Google "No nursing jobs" or "No nursing shortage" for a plethora of articles about how nurses can no longer even land jobs. Do I have that problem working in corporate? Nope. :)

All in all, I wonder if I will ever go back to nursing, but unless the work environment for nurses somehow improves (which it won't- it's been on a steady decline since the 70s) then I prefer to stay in the position that I have. I am respected and paid well and let's be real...we ALL "make a difference" in someones life.

Posted by: Rebecca L. | Apr 22, 2011 6:44:50 AM

I have been an RN for about a year now. Not only do I cry going to work but I constantly feel like somehow I went into the wrong profession. When I decided i wanted to be a nurse, I did it because I truly want to help people, be compassionate and support my patients. I don't help people though- I feel all I do at my job is medicate people and worry about what documentation I still have to fill out just so I can maybe get out on time. I'm constantly in feuds with nursing assistants and having meetings with administration about what more we have to be doing on top of what we already have to do. It's sad. Its upsetting to me that this is what nursing is about- documentation and medication- not NURSING. I'm still young and seriously consider going into another profession every day.

Posted by: Lauren | Dec 29, 2010 9:29:59 PM

I am a nurse in South Africa, and I'm on my way out of nursing. It seems that the poor support from management weighs down on nurses allot more than poor nurse-patient ratio. We work hard and we do our best to at least complete the vital tasks if we are short-staffed. But management belittle us and ignore our needs all too often. But yes, it's straining not having enough staff too and hazardous to both the patient and the nurse. Things get left out inevitably. I've been so disgusted to learn how government wastes money on parties, fancy houses, and other selfish pursuits. They have the audacity to say there is no budget for hiring staff or to improve the conditions under which we work even while paying themselves ridiculous bonuses and salaries.


Posted by: Arkadia | Nov 16, 2010 5:35:42 PM

I have been an LPN for 8 years and have worked in a hospital for 4 of those years. Since then I have gained an incredible amount of weight and a lot of my hair has fallen out. My blood pressure continues to be high despite taking blood pressure medication. I will never be an RN because the demands put on the RNs where I work are sometimes crazy. I have seen RNs literally in tears because sometimes it just gets to be too much for them. If I knew then what I knew now I would have never have came to this hospital. I am one of the few nurses who can truly say that I loved my job at the nursing home. The problem is that with the economy the way it is now, no good nursing homes are hiring. I sometimes cry when I'm getting ready for work because I just don't want to go there.

Posted by: Jennifer Baker | Sep 17, 2010 3:26:55 AM

I have been an LPN in one facility for 4 years now. I love my job, when I get to do it. I am considering another career, as I just cannot go on much longer with the stress that I leave my job feeling. It was announced last year that the company was phasing out LPNs and all LPNs that leave would be replaced by RNs. What a nightmare. Generally good RNs don't want to work in skilled nursing, they want hospital jobs. I can understand this, I want a hospital job too. I work 7p-7a on a 33 bed rehab/medicare unit. It's a mini-hospital. Peritoneal dialysis, trachs, PICCs, TPN, TF, hospice at times, very extensive wounds, etc. After 11 it's me and 2 CNAs, never been a problem until these RNs came in. The most recent one I trained, they let her be a supervisor and she went and flushed a permacath(she thought it was a PICC, and flushing the PICCs was her job). She took out an outer canula from a trach, instead of changing the inner canula. Then they put her on my rehab unit. Time after time of showing her everything and still couldn't get it. Then came the freightening questions she would ask about meds, THAT SHE HAD ALREADY GIVEN. Narc count was off all the time because she would forget to give routine narcs, so I gave up and started writing up her errors, in hopes that she would quit before she killed one of my beloved pts. No such luck, she cried to the DON that I was intimidating her, and that's why she was making med errors, and not able to do her job. So I get moved to LTC unit so that this poor RN is not feeling intimidated. You'll never believe this, she still made errors, and she still has a freaking job! I'm too stuborn to quit my job, but it's killing me. I love taking care of my pts, I love the idea of my job, but it's been so long since I've actually gotten to do my job that it's beginning to not matter to me. I'm so disappointed. I really cannot think of anything else that I'm cut out for besides nursing.

Posted by: B | Mar 25, 2010 4:04:45 AM

Found this site as I am searching internet for alternative career to nursing.
I am a LPN and am tired of the job and bored. Ive been in the job for about a year and already tired of it. I work fast and gets things done quickly. But am getting tired of both staff and residents. Even nursing school was a joke, some teachers are psychopaths or have some severe emotional issues. Considering how much energy is going into the job, as an LPN I am far from properly compensated for my work simply b/c it is not recognized that once the day is done, there is no energy left for earning more money else where and that should be recognized and therefore properly compensated for that fact. For example (maybe a bad one) models gets a special rate for cutting their hair short as they know they will not qualify for many jobs after a hair cut.

Anyways, I think nursing is getting a pissy pay/respect simply it is mostly women working in this field. We have not come a long way, bebe. Where I am currently working, an LPN gets merely 30 cents more/hr than a HCW, pardon my french.. wtf??? I am starting work right 10 min before official start, then I many times work uncompensated 20min past finish time. That is a 1/2 hour freebie to the government that is working towards making the rich richer, poor more poor and homeless (oooh Canada do not NOT stand on guard for the peeps - that is the real anthem)

Until I get the hell out of nursing I am also searching for ways to cope with passive/agressive charge nurses, patients that mistake you for a maid and patient family members that whine about health care system but still vote for the "enemy". Grab a brain will ya?

The problem is political. When funding is given to health care, somehow the CEO's or ED's thinks this is meant for them.. not the ground workers, the ones that bust their butts every minute from the get go.

Man, am I ever pissed off. Of course there will be a shortage of nurses, who the hell is going to put up with this crap?

I think the new kids coming up will not be interested in this kind of work or conditions. The system is broken by traitors that only think of their own wallets and ignored what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Rome is falling.

Posted by: noers | Mar 16, 2010 6:23:11 AM

i quit from an accelerated program about a month ago. i'm so happy i did. my relationships were falling apart, my anxiety had gone over the roof, and i couldn't get out of bed some days. even the girl students in my class that were my friends at one points turned out to be the rudest people i had met. there are so many other jobs out there where you can help people. i realized this and i'm happy i quit. i have another bachelors degree i can fall back on anyway.

Posted by: sharon | Jan 10, 2010 4:26:57 PM

I have been an LPN for over 30 years and I can honestly say this job has made me sick. The demands on nurses is unbelievable and unsafe. I am trying to figure out how to transition to something I can feel proud of. I did stay home for 15 years to raise my kids and when I went back I was shocked at the work load and demands. I am not able to keep up emotionally or physically any longer. This profession has broken my back and left me hollow inside. Nurses do eat their young or old no matter what your age. I would never recommend this rat race to anyone!

Posted by: CJ | Oct 30, 2009 1:26:17 PM

MY ,MY,My all of this is making me scared to death. Im a LPN student after makin my RN transition and its hard so far so I can amagine how the RN course can be...but that's not gonna stop me from becoming the only thing I can see myself doing...I live in Nj and don't know what the pay rate for LPN at the moment but I plan on working part as a LPN while getting my RN degree..all that mumbow jumbow about don't become a nurse because its not what its all cracked up to be..but if you really want to be a nurse(CNA,LPN,RN,etc) nurseing and caring for people is not talent its a gift and its a gift im ah keep giving.....oh and may I say the pay for nursing here in jersey is pretty decent.($40­$59, and maybe more depending on experience and how long you've been a nurse,and that s for a RN)

Posted by: LPN to RN student | Dec 31, 2008 10:04:14 PM

just think: we all could have gone into vet school!!

Seriously, I want to be happy, and nursing is ridiculous.

Posted by: just to let you know | Oct 23, 2008 8:08:34 AM

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