The great American resignation of 2021

Or whatever you want to call it…this just happened…

Why has these been a mass exodus of the American workforce this year? How can anyone afford to do such a thing, and why did it occur?

So, firsthand, I quit a nursing job a few weeks ago, not because I could afford to be without work, but because what I was seeing unfold in front of me, wasn’t a place I wanted to be. The staff there, they all mean well and they were all just trying to finish their day, and everything about the place was very much a one day at a time kind of approach…they seemed to know things were broken, yet even when told point blank that my reason for leaving was the brokenness, I was simply told it was a bad time for me to quit, and could I consider staying on a little longer.

No, I could tell you a hundred things that were broken, none of them causing a ‘report-worthy issue’ from a nursing standpoint, but all setting the facility to always be the ‘incessantly needy toddler” that the exiting DON herself described the facility to be. Setting them up to always be stressed- always be short staffed and overwhelmed.

Does it have to be that way? The simple answer is no, but the longer answer is that, more often than not, proactive acts can help lessen the strain on employees, make them feel appreciated, help them feel good about their job, lessen the chances of being understaffed (people who don’t want to come to work call in, people who are always stressed tend to always feel under the weather).

Sometimes it takes sitting down and taking a look at what’s in front of you, and looking for little ways to adjust and overcome little issues. A simple fix on the nursing job I resigned from would removing redundancies in the charting, as you accounted for the same information not 2-3 times but a minimum of 5-6 times per resident/patient over the course of a med pass, and then had to also do an assessment with the same info. ( a for instance, if a patient has a hypertension med, or a heart med, oft times we have to take their pulse and blood pressure before administering, and input these with the medicine indicated, but if they have 3 to 4 blood pressure medicines, all will need to have that information in there, and if you have to hold said meds, then that also must be charted along with once again inputting said b/p reading, not once, but for every medicine affected by that b/p. Then if a patient should have an infection, they need temp monitored, then most might have weekly full vitals that also need input, then you also have a COVID assessment daily, that requires temp and O2 sat. This could easily all be input and made to auto fill into the other places it needs to be, even causing an auto ‘flagging’ alert to all impacted meds, but it’s not the case in this facility, as I’m sure it isn’t with many others. Also this info should have its own time to be gotten, prior to needing to do med passes or anything else, and there should be proper amount of equipment, in well serviced condition, none of these conditions existed), and I spent my nights before work in a constant state of panic and physically very ill, every time I was to go in. I resigned because my health wasn’t worth the paycheck being offered as a trade-off.

Another example, a close relative of mine works for a company, I won’t name drop, but I watch as the employees around this person are always extremely late. I wondered when I first saw it, how on earth an employer could tolerate such a lack of respect from their employees with regard to timeliness, let alone any other factor. As I watched on, I recognized that the employer itself wasn’t respectful of the shifts it set for its employees, and these employees were taking back what they felt was theirs,because an extra hour here or there eventually rolled into an extra day here or there, with nothing extra as a trade off for salaried employees.

In short, I think there are ways to audit your companies, and make them a place people want to work, I don’t think either of the companies I am talking about are beyond repair, but you have to actually care what you’re doing with regard to your employees, because the highest pay grade won’t matter if the work conditions aren’t amicable or respectful to those in your employ.

I have considered myself whether companies would welcome an outside ‘audit’ of their company, and actually take time to understand those in their employ, and how to make it a more productive, less stressful workplace, where there are less people who don’t want to be there, or do the bare minimum to get by, and more who, at the end of the day, feel validated, and valued.I think this would cause less employees to walk away and cost employers less in the long run than they cost themselves by training employees they don’t keep because they do the opposite.

Just my unsolicited two-cents, but an honest opinion.

All the best,

Amanda

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