The problem is that more nurses leave the profession every day for greener pastures than there are nurses to replace them. Why do nurses leave the profession as a whole, and why is there a mass exodus of experience from the hospital floors?
Lack of professional respect.
Lack of professional respect is the number one reason cited over and over again from the nurses who leave nursing. No respect from physicians. No respect from supervisors. No respect from administrators. No respect from patients and their families. There are other reasons, of course, long hours and low pay contrasted with the stress of life and death responsibilities immediately come to mind. Both of these reasons for leaving, however, are simply illustrations of the fundamental and pervasive lack of respect.
If the health care system really wants to change the direction it is going, then there is a huge step that must be taken. There is a huge shift of perception that must be undertaken. Nurses must be given the respect they deserve for the job they do. I am not talking about a basket of candy on Nurses Week either. Failure to give nurses respect will simply have these intelligent and able professionals using nursing as a means of gaining a degree that will accord them better pay and respect in another field.