Nursing is in a Full Blown Crisis

nurse leadership

Nursing is experiencing a full blown crisis

For as long as I can remember there's never been enough nurses to do all that's asked and expected. In a broken system struggling with an all time turnover high and retention low, Covid19 has brought what was already under pressure, to a boiling point.

Nurses who are great at their jobs are leaving every day.

I know because I'm talking to them every day.

They don't want to leave, they feel like they have to leave.

They’ve tried everything. They’ve hung on for as long as they can, but feeling backed into a corner, their choice is the job, or their physical and mental well-being.

We’re losing great nurses and leaders. Nurses who’ve given over and over again, gone above and beyond, sacrificing precious time and their well-being, every day.

Why? Because nurses are tough. They can take whatever comes their way. They're not quitters. They don't run from the emergency, they run TO it. They pledge to devote themselves to the welfare of those in their care even when their own health is at risk.

Determined to be part of the solution, they've used their skills to make a difference, be innovative and lead. They’ve done their best to communicate thoughts, ideas and frustrations, only to fall on what seems to be deaf ears. They feel depleted, lonely and done. 

Some leave and go to different facilities, work for an agency or sadly are so burned out they don't want to do nursing at all.

Those that stay in nursing hope wherever they go will be different, be better.


Not every person I talk with is ready to quit.

So why are some staying and others leaving?

According to research by The Trust Edge Institute, the #1 reason people stay working for an organization is trusted leadership.

“When employees trust senior leadership, they offer more ideas and solutions, are better team players, and are significantly more loyal.”

The nurses leaving would likely continue to show up, even in these unprecedented times, if they trusted the leadership. 

When leadership hasn’t established a significant level of trust, their people experience disconnection, exhaustion, stress, overwhelm, become resentful, angry, sick,  indifferent, and eventually leave.

Personal relationships and professional relationships, including the relationship between an organization and its people is built on trust.

Whatever the challenges and circumstances are, when establishing and maintaining trust isn’t a priority, focused on and practiced, trust erodes and eventually the relationship or organization collapses.

Everything we do is either increasing trust or not.

What can you do if you don't trust your organization, you feel like quitting,

or you’ve already left?

When we’re stressed and overwhelmed we feel out of control and powerless.

The truth is, what we do control, is powerful. 

We control ourselves. 

We control how we show up for ourselves and we control how we show up for those we love, lead and serve. Are you using your power to increase trust, or not?


Research shows there are several specific areas of focus, important when establishing TRUST in relationships and organizations. Three of those areas are,  consistency, clarity and compassion.

It's empowering to check in with ourselves, to ask ourselves if we’re being part of the problem or part of the solution.  

“The three most important ways to lead people are:… by example… by example… by example.” Albert Schweitzer

Are you trustworthy? 

Most will  find there are areas that can be improved when it comes to trust.

Using a scale of 1-5, 1 -  “need lots of work”, 10 -  “I’m a master”,  rate yourself as to how you feel you contribute to your team and your organization in these 3 areas of TRUST, consistency, clarity and compassion.


I’m consistent in my work ethic

People count on me to keep my comittments

My behaviour is predictable 

People can count on me to be calm in challenging situations


I’m clear about my expectations and priorities

I ask HOW questions? 

I leave time and space for the “other” to ask questions 

I consider individual communication styles for the best outcomes


I’m a good listener with good eye contact, I’m present, limit  distractions, and I validate their point of view

I take action to authentically show appreciation in personal and specific ways

I’m mindful of the needs of others

I’m generous with kind words and small gestures

“People will forget what you said,  people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

GOOD NEWS (image 2)

Establishing trust or re-establishing trust doesn't happen overnight. It's not a one - and -done fix.

Your organization, like you, is likely doing the best they can with what they know how to do.

It may not be a good fit right now but THE GOOD NEWS is, it can begin to improve quickly when the right things are focused on.


You are powerful. People are watching you and trusted behavior is contagious. People are drawn to leadership that prioritizes the important focus areas of trust. When you lead by example you create a pipeline of courageous leaders.


First, model and inspire change. 

Next, identify a specific trust area you feel needs improvement within your organization and

create messaging that clearly communicates the TRUST area of need and, HOW you feel the organization can pivot to increase trust in the area.


Reflect on how much energy is going out vs. what’s coming in. 

What is the pain/reward cost?

Are you expending more energy to the stress of your work than reward is coming in? 

Is it balanced more than imbalanced?

Only you can decide what your next best steps are. 

Keep in mind that stress and fatigue can reduce our ability to make decisions. Be sure to allow time to get quiet and calm your mind before making big life decisions. 

Then, trust yourself. <3


Everything that has happened and is happening is an incredible opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

The future is me and you. How we think and what we prioritize.

The future is about people. You first, then others.

How you show up for yourself first, and then for those you love, lead and serve is the path to increased trust, improved relationships, more joy, and more success in whatever you do and wherever you go.

You got this.

You are amazing.

You are worthy.

Your biggest fan,


Photo cred to Kaiser Health News and Duquesne University School of nursing