LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Poor working conditions, low wages and staff shortages have become all too common in the nursing field.

According to a U of M study, a lot of nurses want out.

“You shouldn’t have to worry whether or not you’re going to have enough health care staff, nurses in particular to care for you,” said Jeff Breslin with the Michigan Nurses Association.

According to the study, 39% of nurses in Michigan plan to leave their jobs in the next year.

Breslin said the main cause of discontent among nurses is the nurse-to-patient ratio.

“We have far too many patients to care for at one time and the more patients we have the less time we have to spend with them,” Breslin said.

“We can’t be in the room to see the small changes that are early signs that something bad is about to happen.”

The U of M study surveyed more than 9,000 state-licensed nurses:

  • 84% say they are emotionally exhausted
  • 43% report emotional abuse
  • 22% say they’ve been physically abused
  • 10% cite sexual abuse

Breslin said nursing can provide emotional highs that are great, but also lows that are devastating.

“I have talked to a lot of my colleagues that have been physically or verbally assaulted on a semi-regular basis,” he said.

Researchers also say that more than half of young nurses under the age of 25 say they may decide to quit.

Breslin believes the problems can be fixed so that nurses can focus on what really matters.

“This will draw more patients to get better care and it will draw more nurses back to the bedsides. These are friends these are our families, and they deserve to get the care they expect when they go in the hospital.”

Most experts say these issues were present before COVID-19, but that the pandemic made them worse.