High Turnover of Nurses on General Surgical Floor

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 5
Words: 1177
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: PhD

Foundation of the Study

Hospitals and medical institutions face several organizational challenges, and one of them is the inability to retain employees, especially nurses (May, Bazzoli, & Gerland, 2006, p. 316). The following study will be aimed at explaining the origins of this problem. The findings of this research can be used by the administrators of medical organizations, since these people are responsible for developing HR policies.


The researchers and practitioners acknowledge that the work of hospitals is largely dependent on the successful performance of nurses (Upenieks, 2003, p. 140). Nevertheless, current turnover rate of nurses is 21.3 percent (Hauck & Fitzpatrick, 2011, p, 270). This means that a great number of healthcare professionals choose to leave their jobs due to some reasons. In many cases, the wellbeing of patients depends upon their competence. Yet, the needs of patients cannot be fully meet provided that hospitals are understaffed. Moreover, a good teamwork is hardly possible if employees cannot work with one another for a long time (Wolper, 2010, p. 318). These are the dangers of high turnover among nurses. The task of researchers is to pay more attention to the reasons why many nurses choose to quite their jobs. By understanding the origins of this problem one can improve the work of medical institutions.

Problem Statement

The main problem that should be addressed is the inability of hospitals to retain nurses. The research suggests that many of these professionals often have practically no incentives to continue their work in medical institutions (Hauck & Fitzpatrick, 2011, p, 270). Statistical findings indicate at a very alarming trend, in particular, in 2015 the anticipated shortage of nurses in the United States will be approximately 20 percent at the very least (Hauck & Fitzpatrick, 2011, p. 269). Thus, in the near future, hospitals may become significantly understaffed and this may have catastrophic effects on their performance. The general business problem is high turnover of nurses on surgical floor. It is necessary to understand the factors that contribute to high turnover of nurses who work on general surgical floor. The researchers, who examine this problem, identify such factors as lack of opportunities for professional growth, compensation, empowerment, or long working hours (Cho et al, 2012, p. 66; De Milt, Fitzpatrick & McNulty, 2011, p. 43). Moreover, the studies suggest that lack of peer support is another reason why many healthcare workers choose to leave hospitals voluntarily (Marom, & Koslowsky, 2012, p. 194; O’Brien-Pallas et al, 2010, p. 1073). Therefore, one should not assume that turnover can be explained only by such factors as salary and workload. Nurses, who work in the medical surgical floor, can encounter even more difficult challenges. Scholars believe that these people have to cope with stress and excessive workload, and absence of opportunities for professional growth (Vowels, Topp, & Berger, 2012, p. 6; Foy & Timmins, 2004., p. 38). So, the study should focus on a very specific business problem; in particular it is necessary to find ways of improving the experiences of nurses in the workplace.

Purpose Statement

This study should achieve several objectives. First, it is aimed at investigating the reasons behind the high turnover of nurses on general surgical floor as. The main task is to understand how these professionals perceive their work and what kind of things make them dissatisfied with it. This is the most critical part of the study, because hospital administrators should understand why an increasing number of nurses are willing to leave. The second important task is to identify those factors that can improve work experiences of nurses. The findings of researchers suggest that such factors do exist and empowerment is one of them (Frellick, 2011, p. 5; Spence et al, 2009, p. 302). These are the main issues that should be examined.

The study will be based on the use of qualitative research methods. The research will involve the unstructured interviews of nurse managers from various university hospitals like Vanderbilt University. By talking to these professionals, one can gain better insights into the nature of this issue. The interviews will be conducted with nurse managers who have been working at least ten years in a surgical unit. Such a person has a vast experience of working in medical organizations, and he or she knows why nursing professionals may decide to leave (Gormley, 2011, p. 34; Duffield et al, 2011, p. 23). Furthermore, nurse managers can tell what kind of problems they encounter. Most importantly, they can explain why people choose to stay in medical organizations and what factors make their work more rewarding. Such an interview can throw much light on the turnover of nurses.

Nature of the Study

As it has been noted before, this study is based on qualitative methods. In particular, it will rely on grounded theory according to which a researcher should focus on the collection of data that will later enable me to formulate a testable hypothesis (Bailey, 1994, p. 55; Chamaz & Bryant, 2010, p. 315). This method was selected because it enables researchers to understand the connections between individual behavior and organizational strategies. The study that relies on grounded theory can involve the use of unstructured interviews. In this way, one can better understand the complex attitudes that nurses can have toward their jobs. The main advantage of this method is that it gains insights into the perceptions of nurses and their feelings about their profession. Additionally, an unstructured interview does not force a person to give certain answers that the researcher expects (Klenke, 2008, p. 126; Creswell, 2008). Besides, a researcher will be able to ask additional questions in order to specify the responses of the interviewee (Whiston, 2008, p. 124). So, these people will have more freedom in order to discuss various issues and themes that can be relevant to nurses. By analyzing the responses that nurse managers will give, it will be possible to identify the issues that many health care professionals are concerned with.

Research Questions

Hopefully, the findings of this study will provide answers to the following set of questions:

  1. What are the main factors that contribute to high turnover of nurses? This is the central issue that should be addressed.
  2. What circumstances decrease nurses’ satisfaction with their work?
  3. What are the factors that can make a person willing to stay in the hospital? This is another question that is of great importance for this study. By answering it, administrators can improve the retention practices of hospitals.
  4. What kind of improvement do nurses expect from hospitals?
  5. Are there any recommendations that nurses can make for the improvement of their work experiences? This issue is also very important for this study, because researchers believe that medical workers can find ways of improving the retention practices of hospitals (Wieck, Dols, & Northam, 2009, p. 169). So, there opinion should not be disregarded.

The interviews that will be conducted with nurse managers will revolve around these questions. During these conversations, some additional questions can be asked, However, special attention will be given to the concerns of nurses can express.


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