Las Vegas Sun

February 1, 2015

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Do No Harm: Hospital Care in Las Vegas:

Why Nevada’s nurses quit

Newly hired nurses in Nevada used terms like “dangerous” and “unsafe” to describe the conditions in hospitals in a 2005 UNLV study. Many new nursing graduates in Nevada said they have been so concerned about understaffing and patient safety that they quit their jobs.

• 30 percent of respondents to the study left their jobs in the first year.

• 57 percent quit within two years.

• Patient safety issues were cited as the most negative aspect of the job and the most frequent reason for leaving.


"We can put out double the number of nurses but if we’re losing them at the other end — if hospitals are revolving doors — what we’re doing isn’t going to solve the issue.” — UNLV nursing professor Cheryl Bowles

Why did you leave your first job?

• “Being a new grad, I felt very uncomfortable taking high-activity patients on nights. I did not have adequate support because of high turnover rates, understaffing and many travelers that were unfamiliar with our facility.”

• “Had 18 patients with one (certified nursing assistant) — post ops … under charge nurses who didn’t have competent assessment skills.”

• “Being responsible for 12-15 patients is too much to handle.”

• “Impossible patient loads. Stressful work.”

• “Patient acuity too high and I felt I was unable to give the type of nursing care I was trained in.”

• “Unfair RN-to-patient ratio. Unsafe, dangerous conditions.”

• “Staffing was very poor. As a new grad, I would take up to 16 patients, fresh post-ops that could not be monitored appropriately … I stayed 2-3 hours after my shift to chart.”

SOURCE: “First Job Experiences of Recent R.N. Graduates,” published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, 2005. The authors, UNLV nursing professors Cheryl Bowles and Lori Candela, based their findings on a survey of 352 newly hired nurses in Nevada.

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