Study: Millennial nurses most likely to quit, many plan to leave organizations

The results could mean trouble for practices already struggling with staffing due to the pandemic.

In a time where healthcare facilities continue to struggle with staffing, it seems that some of the new crop of nurses are more likely to quit.

According to a news release, a study from healthcare consumer and workforce engagement company Press Ganey found that nearly 30 percent of registered nurses are at risk of leaving their organization. This was seen more starkly among nurses younger than 35 years old who have been at their organization for less than a year, about one-in-five nurses who fit this profile leave their jobs.

The study also found that employee engagement ratings fell at twice the rate among registered nurses in the past 12 months compared to non-registered nurses. When they work also seems to play a role, as nurses working the night and weekend shifts reported lower levels of engagement than those who worked the dayshift.

“Disconnection isn’t the diagnosis—it’s a symptom of a larger caregiver crisis that transcends turnover and retention. The consequences of a critical shortage of early career nurses could reshape our healthcare infrastructure for generations to follow,” Jeff Doucette, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN, chief nursing officer at Press Ganey, says in the release. “We are committed to helping health systems retain top talent during what very well may be the last straw for nurses at their breaking point after 18 months of pandemic operating conditions.”

The study also identified ways to predict turnover, such as low participations in employee engagement surveys and low scores on questions which measure a sense of belonging. Improving a sense of belonging is identified as a good retention strategy for healthcare organizations, the release says.

“Nurses who are on the fence about leaving the profession altogether are watching to see if leaders are really listening and willing to tackle tough issues—or just going through the motions,” Doucette says.

The release suggests healthcare organizations implement employee surveys to take the pulse of employees’ attitudes, making an action plan to address employee concerns, and monitoring any movement in the data gleaned from the surveys so that challenges can be noted and improved upon.

Communication is also a key to retention. Employers should use what communications channels their employees are engaged with to share what information was gathered in the surveys and what actions will be taken to address employee feedback, according to the release.