The following excerpt is from an op-ed that first appeared in STAT News on May 10th, 2024.

Pizza. Coloring books. Goody bags. They could be activities at a 5-year-old’s birthday party. But they’re not: These are many employers’ attempts to lift the morale of nurses on the frontlines of chronically understaffed organizations. What nurses really want are better working conditions so they can deliver the best care possible to their patients.

As researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, we asked thousands of nurses why they are leaving their profession. Their answers are straightforward — short staffing is so rampant that the public’s health care is at risk.

The playbook of corporate health care asks nurses to do much with little, but nurses aren’t willing to skimp on quality and safety. There isn’t a nursing shortage — it’s nurses’ refusal to be part of a system that puts profits before safety.

In our study, which was published in JAMA Network Open, nurses from hospitals, primary care, nursing homes, and hospice told us they left their jobs because of burnout, insufficient staffing, and poor work-life balance. Close to half of all retired nurses had an unplanned retirement, suggesting many were leaving their careers early.

Read the entire op-ed here.


Karen Lasater

Karen Lasater, PhD, RN

Associate Professor, Biobehavioral Health Sciences, Penn Nursing

Jane Muir

Jane Muir, PhD, APRN

Postdoctoral Fellow, National Clinician Scholars Program and Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, Penn Nursing

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