US: Behind The Biggest Nursing Exodus In 40 Years

Authored by Matt McGregor via The Epoch Times

A 40-year record high of 100,000 nurses left their jobs in 2021, according to a study published in Health Affairs Forefront in April 2022.

The study noted that the exiting nurses were primarily younger, rather than the expected age group of above 50.

“A sustained reduction in the number of younger age [nurses] would raise ominous implications for the future workforce,” the study stated.

A report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing published in October 2022 blames the losses on general trends such as retirement, a lack of education and training for replacements, and the rapid growth of an aging population that requires health care services.

Several nurses who spoke to sources largely blame the exodus on the corporatization of health care and the vaccine mandates imposed on nurses.

The nursing shortage had long been a problem before COVID-19. When hospitals began operating like corporations instead of as a refuge for the sick, nurses became disillusioned with the occupation, nurse Irene Ricks told sources.

Then, came the pandemic and, with it, a slew of new requirements.

“Not only were nurses having to take on a huge load of patients, but they were also being told to do things that they didn’t feel right about,” Ms. Ricks said. 

“Then, they were being told they had to be vaccinated or they would lose their job.”

The vaccine mandate “was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Ms. Ricks said. 

“It made nurses quit or retire in droves.”

A 2023 report by AMN Healthcare, which is the result of a January survey of 18,000 registered nurses nationwide, found that 30 percent of nurses said they’re likely to leave their careers because of the pandemic, up 7 percentage points from 2021. 

“The movement of nurses away from hospital employment may be the most damaging health care workplace impact of the pandemic,” the report states. 

A full 94 percent of respondents said there’s a “severe or moderate shortage of nurses” in their area.

“Nurses forever have gone into difficult places with deadly diseases, and people were happy and amazed at their sacrificial attitude to help people,” nurse Twila Brase, co-founder of the Minnesota-based Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom and founder of The Wedge of Health Freedom, told The Epoch Times.

“Yet, suddenly, the entire health care system turned on its head and said, ‘The biggest thing is to not take care of people but to comply. And we are willing to put patients at risk because if you don’t comply, you’re going to be terminated.’”

The nurses who were celebrated as heroes at the beginning of the pandemic were suddenly considered pariahs if they didn’t take the vaccine.

Some hospital systems imposed their own vaccine mandates, such as Houston Methodist in Texas, which announced a mandate in March 2021 and gave employees until June of that year to be fully vaccinated. By June 22, 2021, 153 employees either resigned or were fired.

A total of 1,400 employees at New York-based Northwell Health either resigned or were terminated for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Becker’s Hospital Review, a website tracking the termination of healthcare workers over the vaccine. The website includes a list of 55 hospitals and facilities that have fired more than 7,000 healthcare workers since 2021.

Ms. Brase said the vaccine mandate imposed on health care workers demonstrated the callousness of the corporate system.

“Nurses were essentially being forced to make life-or-death decisions as patients were reporting to them firsthand unusual symptoms that began after they took the injection,” Ms. Brase said.

“And yet hospitals wanted to get rid of them if they didn’t take this vaccine. It’s unreasonable. It’s unscientific.”

Noticing the reluctance within the health care industry to take the vaccine, the Biden administration imposed a vaccine mandate on health care workers on Nov. 5, 2021. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, stated that “in order to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, participating facilities must ensure that their staff—unless exempt for medical or religious reasons—are vaccinated against COVID-19.”

The Supreme Court upheld the mandate in a 5–4 decision issued in January 2022. The decision meant that health care workers were given until March 15, 2022, to get fully vaccinated. 

In 2022, North Carolina nurse practitioner Staci Kay revealed to sources what she believed to be vaccine injuries.

“I saw brain bleeds, seizures out of nowhere, cancer that just spread like wildfire, ischemic strokes, and I saw one person die horrifically from myocarditis,” Ms. Kay said at the time, noting that the issues “went unacknowledged by our physicians.”

On the outpatient side, she reported conditions such as brain fog, cognitive decline, joint pain, gastrointestinal issues, and neuropathy.

Ms. Kay started her own telemedicine practice after being fired for not submitting to what she described as illogical testing requirements for those who weren’t vaccinated.

Ms. Ricks said she suffered an injury after taking the first two doses of the vaccine. She said she didn’t make the connection to the vaccine until she discussed her symptoms with a co-worker, who said he was suffering the same symptoms.

“That’s when I knew something was going on,” Ms. Ricks told sources. She predicts she’ll be suffering the side effects for the rest of my life.

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Matt McGregor

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